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of t!je "&pani0& Boccaccio/* 

Fifty Pleasant Stories 

Of Patronio 


JAMES YORK, M.D., 1868 


I8 99 


[N introducing for the first time in Eng- 
land one of the choicest productions 
of early Spanish literature a book 
written a century before the invention 
of printing it may be as well to say a few words 
as to the author and the times in which he lived. 
Don Juan Manuel was born in Escalona, on the 
5th May, 1282. His father, Don Pedro Manuel, 
a brother of Alfonso the Wise, died when he was 
two years old. Don Juan was educated by his 
cousin, Sancho IV, and lived with him on the same 
familiar terms as his father had with Alfonso. He 
exhibited early those warlike tendencies which 
characterized all the great Spanish nobles of that 
time; in 1294, while yet a boy, he was already in 
the field against the Moors. 

Under Ferdinand IV, who succeeded Sancho, and 
knew how to appreciate the qualities of Don Manuel, 
the latter reached, at the age of twenty-eight, to the 
highest employments of the State, ynfortunately, 
Ferdinand, dying in 1312, left his successor, Alfonso 
XI, only thirteen months old, which gave rise to 


rent of Portugal ; much, however, against the wish 
of Alphonso, who was touched, perhaps, with a 
too tardy regret for his breach of faith, or with a 
jealous aversion that another should supersede him 
in the affections of her whom he had so grossly 
outraged. Meanwhile, Don Manuel, after waging 
victorious war for the king against the Moors, died, 
at the age of sixty-five, in 1347. 

Allied by descent and marriage with nearly all 
the royal families of Spain and Portugal, Don Juan 
Manuel may be considered as a type of those ancient 
Spanish nobles, whose pride of lineage, whose fierce 
courage, and chivalrous sentiment are traditional. 
These characteristics, however, he shared with many 
others of his time, and they would hardly have 
served to make his name remembered. The dis- 
tinguishing and exceptional fact that causes it to 
stand out conspicuous from the rest, is his author- 
ship. His victories and defeats, his royal relation- 
ship and descent are nothing to us now ; while the 
very thing upon which he probably prided himself 
least, or looked upon as at best an idle solace from 
graver toils the collection of stories which he 
penned in the rare intervals of leisure between the 
labours of the camp and the council, and which he 
bequeathed in manuscript to the monks of Penafiel 
still lives to be read, and to afford instruction and 
entertainment to a generation that follows the arts 
of peace as nobler than the arts of war 


El Conde Lucanot first found its way into print 
in 1575, when it was published at Seville, under 
the auspices of Argote de Molina, whose elaborate 
genealogy of the author would delight a heraldic 
mind. It was again printed, at Madrid, in 1642,* 
after which time, in the general neglect all over 
Europe of early literature, it lay forgotten for nearly 
two centuries. 

An incomplete edition, with modernized spelling, 
was published at Stuttgart in 1839, and reprinted at 
Paris in 1840. An edition was also published at Bar- 
celona in 1853. But the first critical edition present- 
ing a standard text, founded on an elaborate collation 
of the earlier editions and of the existing manuscripts, 
appeared only seven years ago (Madrid, 1 860), 
under the superintendence of Don Pascual de Ga- 
yangos. In this edition the missing chapter, the 
absence of which renders the two early ones in- 
complete, was supplied from a manuscript in the 
National Library at Madrid. 

It is indeed time that such a book, so full of 
the antique simplicity and wisdom, should be ap- 
preciated. The artless naivete of these tales ought 
to delight an age surfeited with the sensational 
novels that pour from our circulating libraries in 
an uninterrupted stream. Of analysis of character, 

* The editions of 1575 and 1642 are among the rarest books 
in the world 

viii PREFACE. 

indeed, about which so much cry is made now- 
a-days, there is little. It was an age when men 
were not always probing their moral sensations 
and analysing their own minds with a morbid self- 
consciousness. It was a robust, healthy age, little 
given to fret itself with metaphysical or fine-spun 
distinctions ; an age of muscular activity, not over 
prone to much speculation, and what there was of 
abstract thought was so clear and transparent that 
he who runs may read. 

And so, though every tale in the collection illus- 
trates some wise moral and closes with some pithy 
maxim for the conduct of life, there is no dogmatic 
teaching. Every reader could apply the tale in his 
own way, and adapt the moral to the peculiar cir- 
cumstances of his own condition. And, indepen- 
dently of any moral, each story is a real story, 
artistic and interesting nay, true in the best sense 
of the word, true to nature and the human heart. 

The book is further a picture of the time. Any 
one who wishes to have a living representation of 
the Spanish chivalry of the fourteenth century, of 
the life and manners of that picturesque epoch, of the 
blunt nobleness and rude valour of which the Cid 
is still cherished in Spain as a type will find it here, 
if anywhere. 

What shall we say as to the literary merit of the 
book ? Written more than a century before the 
invention of printing, long before modern writing 
became a practice and an art at a time when the few 


scholars who wrote used Latin as the only fitting and 
permanent vehicle of their thoughts it has, doubt- 
less, what we at this day may call faults of style, 
with occasional needless and somewhat wearisome 
repetitions ; these the translator found it difficult to 
abridge without interfering with the characteristic 
features of the original, as regards quaintness and 
clearness of detail two qualities which constitute 
the charm of the book, and are essential to the force 
and point of able literature. 

Like our Chaucer, Don Juan Manuel has a high 
claim to the reverence of his countrymen as one of 
the first who consolidated their language, and dis- 
carding ' canine-latin ' (Ciceronian having become 
impossible), gave to the Castilian dialect a per- 
manence and importance, at the same time improving 
and enlarging its capabilities of expression. 

From the Arabic phrases which we find scattered 
through the book, it may safely be assumed that Don 
Manuel had, during his long intercourse with the 
Moors, become tolerably proficient in that language. 
This inference lends probability to the idea that 
some of the Eastern collections of tales were not un- 
known to him, and that he may have drawn con- 
siderably from such sources in some of his narratives. 

Considering the general character of the literature 
of those times, "Count Lucanor" is singularly free 
from grossness. There is not, indeed, one instance 
of intentional impurity in the whole book ; so that it 
may safely be placed in the hands of children with- 


out fear of contamination. If there be any likeness 
to the Decameron, it is rather in the mediaeval 
abandon and simplicity of both the narrators than 
in their subjects ; for there is, as we say, no trace 
in Don Manuel of the licentiousness of his more 
famous Italian contemporary. 

It has been the translator's aim to preserve, as 
much as possible, all the characteristic features of 
the original. While avoiding archaic words, which 
would render the book distasteful and difficult to the 
general reader, he has purposely chosen a somewhat 
antique style, to correspond as far as might be with 
his author's. The most laborious, and, perhaps, the 
least satisfactory portion of his task has been his 
endeavour to render the couplets which wind up the 
tales by corresponding English couplets, without 
departing too widely from the original, or adhering 
to it so closely as to be stilted. 

The notes appended to each chapter consist prin- 
cipally of historical and literary illustrations necessary 
to the complete understanding of the tales themselves, 
which, from their antiquity, may easily be supposed 
to contain many allusions to events and to persons 
now grown somewhat obscure. In some of these 
the translator has been considerably indebted to the 
researches of M. Adolphe de Puibusque, whose 
French version of " Count Lucanor " was published 
in 1854.* 

* There exists also a German translation by Eichendorff. We 
are not aware that the book has appeared in any other language. 


The advantages of Tabular or allegorical teaching 
are too well understood to need any comment. Don 
Manuel, however, enjoys the distinction of being 
free from the cynicism and covert sarcasm which 
mar the instructiveness of too many writers of this 
class. He has been able to paint vice and folly in 
their true colours, without degrading human nature 
to point a clever epigram. For that satire only is 
wise and good which has in it an undercurrent of 
tenderness and pity for those foibles which the 
satirist himself shares, more or less, with his fellow- 

We trust that " Count Lucanor " may be accepted 
by the English reader as a genuine, if rugged piece 
of ore from that rich mine of early Spanish literature 
which yet lies hidden and un wrought. 

London, 1868, 



The Prologue . I 

CHAP. I. Relates to what happened to a Moorish King of 

Cordova 4 

CHAP. II. Treats of that which happened to Lorenzo Suarez 

Gallinato, and Garciperez of Vargas, and another knight . 8 
CHAP. III. Treats of that which happened to Don Rodrigo 

el Franco and his knights 14 

CHAP. IV. Of a Hermit who sought to know whom he 

should have for his companion in Paradise, and of the 

leap made by King Richard of England . . . .21 
CHAP. V. Of that which happened to the Emperor Frederick 

and Don Alvar Fafiez, with their wives . . . .29 
CHAP. VI. Of that which happened to the Count of Provence 

and Saladin the Sultan of Babylon 42 

CHAP. VII. Of that which happened to a King and three 

Impostors 52 

CHAP. VIIL What happened to a King with a man who 

called himself an Alchymist 58 

CHAP. IX. Of that which happened to two Cavaliers who 

were in the service of the Infant Prince Henry . . 64 
CHAP. X. Concerning what happened to a Seneschal of 

Carcasona 69 

CHAP. XI. Of that which happened to a Moor, who had a 

Sister pretending to be alarmed at any ordinary occurrence 73 
CHAP. XII. Of that which happened to a Dean of Santiago, 

with Don Ulan, the Magician, who lived at Toledo . . 77 
CHAP. XIII. What happened to King Ben Abit, of Seville, 

with Queen Romaquia, his wife 85 

CHAP. XIV. Concerning what happened to a Lombardian, in 

Bologna . . . . . . . . . .89 

CHAP. XV. What Count Fernan Gonzales said to Nuno 

Lainez . . . . . . . ... 92 


CHAP. XVI. Of what happened to Don Rodrigo Melendez de 

Valdez 95 

CHAP. XVII. Concerning that which happened to a great 

Philosopher and a young King, his pupil . . . -99 
CHAP. XVIII. Relates what happened to a Moorish King, 

who had three Sons, and who desired to know which 

would become the best Man 105 

CHAP. XIX. Of that which happened to the Canons of the 

Cathedral Church of Paris, and to the Friars of Saint 

Francis, called Minors 112 

CHAP. XX. Of that which happened to a Falcon and a 

Heron, and, more particularly, to a cunning Falcon, 

which belonged to the Infant Don Manuel . . . 115 
CHAP. XXI. Recounts what happened to Count Fenian 

Gonzales, and the reply which he gave to his Vassals . 119 
CHAP. XXII. Of that which happened to a King and his 

Favourite 122 

CHAP. XXIII. What happened to a good Man and his Son, 

leading a beast to market 129 

CHAP. XXIV. Of what a Genovese said to his soul when 

about to die 135 

CHAP. XXV. What happened to the Crow with the Fox . 137 

CHAP. XXVI. What happened to the Swallow, with the 
other birds, when he saw the flax sown . . . .142 

CHAP. XXVII. Relates what happened to a Man who carried 
a very precious Treasure hung round his neck, and who 
had to pass a river 144 

CHAP. XXVIIL Of what happened to a woman called 

Truhana 147 

CHAP. XXIX. Of that which happened to a Man who was 
suffering from a malady, and whose liver had to be 
cleansed 150 

CHAP. XXX. Of what happened to a Man who, through 
poverty and lack of other food, was reduced to eat some 
peas 151 

CHAP. XXXI. What happened to a Cock and a Fox . .154 

CHAP. XXXIL What happened to a Man catching Partridges 157 

CHAP. XXXIII. Relates to what happened to a Man with 

his Friend who had invited him to dinner . . . 159 


CHAP. XXXIV. What happened to the Owls and the Crows 161 

CHAP. XXXV. The advice which Patronio gave to Count 
Lucanor, when he said he wished to enjoy himself, illus- 
trated by the example of that which happened to the Ants 165 

CHAP. XXXVI. Of that which happened to a good Man and 

his Son, who boasted of having many Friends . . . 168 

CHAP. XXXVI I. Relates what happened to the Lion and the 

Bull 174 

CHAP. XXXVIII. Relates to the advice which Patronio gave 
to Count Lucanor, when he exniessed a desire to obtain 
a good reputation ; and the example was what happened 
to a Philosopher who was suffering from a severe illness 178 

CHAP. XXXIX. Of what happened to a Man who was made 

Governor of a large territory 182 

CHAP. XL. Of that which happened to Good and Evil, illus- 
trated by what occurred to a Man with a Madman . . 185 

CHAP. XLL Of the association between Truth and Falsehood 191 

CHAP. XLII. Of what happened to a Fox who pretended 

to be dead 195 

CHAP. XLIII. What happened to two blind Men travelling 

together 198 

CHAP. XLIV. Of what happened to a young Man on his 

wedding-day 200 

CHAP. XLV. Of what happened to a Merchant who went to 

buy brains 207 

CHAP. XLVI. What happened to a Man with a grey Sand- 
piper and a Swallow 212 

CHAP. XLVII. What happened to the Devil, with a Woman 

who went on a pilgrimage 214 

CHAP. XLVIII. The advice which Patronio gave to Count 
Lucanor when informed that a Man had offered to teach 
him the art of foretelling coming events, which he exem- 
plified by what happened to a good Man who became 
first rich and afterwards poor by the intervention of the 

Devil 221 

CHAP. XLIX. What happened to Don Lorenzo Xuares Galli- 

nato, when he beheaded the renegade Priest . . .227 
CHAP. L. Concerning that which happened to Saladin and 

a Lady, wife of a Knight in his service . . . .231 


AMONGST the many strange things that 
our Lord God made, He thought good 
to make one very marvellous. That is, 
that of the numberless men who are in 
the world, there is not one who altogether resembles 
another in face. All men's features, indeed, are 
made up of the same parts, but these parts are not 
the same in one as in another. And since in the 
features, which take up so small a place, there is to 
be found so great a variety, it is less to be wondered 
at that there should be a difference in the mind and 
will of men, and that you should find no man in 
these respects altogether like another. And I will 
give you a few examples that you may the better 
understand this. 

Men, who seek and desire to serve God, all seek 
one thing, but they do not all serve Him in the same 
manner; for some serve Him in one way, others in 
another. Or again, those who serve their lords, all 
serve them, but all do not serve them in one and the 
same manner. 



Again, those who labour in the fields, or rear stock, 
or manufacture, or hunt, have all different methods 
of doing the same thing. From these and many 
other examples, too long to relate, you will under- 
stand that, although all men possess will, mind, and 
feelings alike, little as they resemble each other in 
features, still less do they in these other qualities : 
and each acquires a greater fitness and aptitude, 
where self-interest is the stimulant ; so, if you wish 
to convey your knowledge to another, endeavour to 
convince him that it is for his own interest And 
as many men do not understand subtle or abstract 
matters, hence it is that they derive no pleasure from 
books, or writings, which treat only of such subjects ; 
and consequently can never appreciate or understand 
them. And therefore I, Don Juan, son of the In- 
fant Don Manuel, Governor of the frontiers and 
kingdom of Murcia, composed this book, using 
therein the choicest expressions I could find ; in- 
troducing also many examples which may benefit 
those who hear them ; and this I did following the 
example of the physicians who, in their treatment of 
the liver, mix with their medicines sugar, honey, or 
something to make them more agreeable.* So is it 
when any other member of the body is affected, 

* Compare Tasso, Ger. Lib. I. 3. 

" So we, if children young diseased we find, 

Anoint with sweets the vessel's foremost parts, 
To make them taste the potions sharp we give ; 
They drink deceived ; and so deceived they live." 

FAIRFAX'S translation. 


each requires its own proper remedy; and this rule 
I will, with the blessing of God, adopt in this book, 
so that all who read it may be benefited and amused 
at the same time, and they shall not have the excuse 
to say that, being tiresome and dry, the good advice 
therein was lost ; for, like the palatable ingredients 
combined with the bitter medicines essential for the 
complaint, so the beauty and aptness of the language 
which I have endeavoured to convey in this book 
shall render the moral inseparable from the story. 

And God, who is the author and giver of all good, 
will I trust, in His mercy, cause all who read this 
book to derive benefit therefrom both in soul and 
body ; knowing this to be my desire and intention in 
writing it ; and He will attribute any faults commit- 
ted therein to the weakness of my understanding, 
and not to perverseness of spirit. And if any good 
be derived therefrom, I and my readers should thank 
God for it, He being the author and source of all 
light and truth. And now we will commence the 
book in the manner of a dialogue between Count 
Lucanor and his friendly adviser Patronio. 


Relates to what happened to a Moorish king 
of Cordova. 

day Count Lucanor spoke to Patronio 
his friend after this manner : 

" Patronio, you know that I am a 
great hunter, and that I have invented 
many new devices in hunting which no other man 
ever thought of; and you know also that I have 
made improvements in the hoods and leashes, such 
as were never made before ; nevertheless the people 
speak ill of me, and ridicule me; and when they 
praise the Cid Ruy Diaz, or Count Ferdinand 
Gonzalez, for the many things which they did, or 
the holy and happy King Ferdinand for the many 
conquests which he gained, they say of me, with 
ironical praise, that I also have done many great 
things, alluding to the hoods and leashes. Now I 
feel this irony very painful to me, and injurious to 
my character ; therefore, I pray you, advise me what 


to do, so as to avoid being ridiculed for the good 
things I do." 

" My lord, " said Patronio, " in order that you 
may know what it behoves you to do in this case, I 
will, with your permission, relate what happened to 
a Moorish king of Cordova." The Count assented, 
and Patronio proceeded : 

" There was in Cordova a Moorish king, named 
Alhaquima, who governed his kingdom well: he 
studied to act with honour to himself and justice to 
others ; indeed, he did all that was required of good 
kings ; not only in guarding their kingdoms, but in 
augmenting their territories, with the view that they 
might receive the praises of their people ; and after 
death be remembered for their good deeds. Yet 
this king gave himself up to a life of luxury and en- 
joyment ; vice and disorder reigning in his palace. 
Now it happened as they played before him on an 
instrument which the Moors liked very much, and 
which they called Albogon, that the king perceived 
that it did not sound as well as it ought, so he took 
the instrument and made a hole at the lower part of 
it, but in the same direction as the other holes ; and 
since that time the Albogon has given a much better 
sound than before. 

"Now although this cannot be considered but as 
an improvement, yet it was not an act suited to the 
dignity of a king and so thought the people for 
when they heard that the improvement was made 
by the king, they exclaimed in a ridiculing manner 


in Arabic, ' Vahedezut Alhaquima,' which sig- 
nifies, ' This is the work of King Alhaquima.' This 
exclamation became so common all over the country 
that it at last reached the ears of the king, who 
begged to know why the people always used this 
saying; but his attendants were anxious to avoid 
answering his question. He however insisted on 
being told the truth, and the signification of the ex- 
pression ; so they were compelled to tell him. When 
he heard it he was very much grieved ; but instead of 
punishing those who related the origin of the saying, 
he resolved to do some worthy deed, in order that 
the people might be compelled to praise him de- 

"At this time the mosque of Cordova not being 
yet finished, King Alhaquima did all that was neces- 
sary for its completion, and in this way it became 
one of the most beautiful mosques the Moors had in 
Spain, glory to God! it is now a church, called 
'Saint Mary of Cordova.' It was dedicated, by 
the ' good King Ferdinand,' to Saint Mary after he 
had taken Cordova from the Moors. 

" Now when the Moorish king had done so good a 
work as that of finishing the mosque he said to him- 
self, the people have hitherto ridiculed me for the 
addition I made to the Albogon, (one of which 
instruments he then held before him,) but now they 
have reason for praising me, for have I not completed 
the mosque of Cordova ? From this time the Moors 
ceased to speak in ridicule of him; and to this 


day, when they wish to exalt a good act, say, ' It is 
as the work of King Alhaquima.' 

"And you, my lord, if you feel displeased and un- 
happy because you are ridiculed for the improvements 
you have made in hoods and leashes and other things 
relating to the chase, study to do some noble and 
worthy deed suitable to your station." 

Count Lucanor found this to be good advice, and 
acted accordingly, the result being that the people 
spoke well of him. 

Don Juan, considering this to be a good example, 
caused it to be written in this book, and made these 
verses, which say : 

If any good thou doest, how small soever, 

Let it be nobly done, for good deeds live for ever. 


It would appear that in this narrative the author refers to 
Al Hakem II, who reigned in Cordova from 961 to 976. 
He was a man of peace and a cultivator of the Arts, like his 
noble father Abd' el Nahman III, who built the beautiful 
city of Medina al Zarah, on the banks of the Guadalquivir, if 
he did not finish, at any rate he appears to have done much 
towards a mosque which occupied more than one hundred years 
in its completion. 

King Ferdinand III, mentioned in the text, was enthusiastic 
in obtaining from the Moors their splendid mosques, with the 
view of converting them into Christian Churches; it was thus 
in 1236, that he conquered Cordova, and replacing the crescent 
with the cross on the tower of the mosque, with grand proces- 
sions, benedictions, and prayers, purified and dedicated it to the 
Virgin Mary. 

It is an interesting fact that to this day, the saying, " It is as 
the work of King Alhaquima," is a "household word," in Spain, 
when craise is to be bestowed for any work or achievement. 



Treats of that which happened to Lorenzo Suarez 
Gallinato, and Garciperez of Vargas, and another 

day when Count Lucanor was con- 
versing with his counsellor Patronio, 
he said : " Patronio, it happens that I 
have a powerful king for an enemy; 
our quarrel has lasted so long that we have now 
resolved, for our future welfare, to terminate the war. 
Now, although we have thus agreed, nevertheless we 
are suspicious one of the other, and I am always on 
my guard ; for, not only his people, but mine also, 
have been assassinated ; and they send me, without 
ceasing, secret messengers informing me that my own 
life is in danger. Now, as I wish to be at peace, I 
entreat you to advise me how to act under these 

"Count Lucanor," replied Patronio, "the advice 
which I have to give you demands your serious 
attention, and for many reasons. 

" Firstly : Any man wishing to quarrel with you 
will be under the necessity of making great prepara- 
tions, while he will endeavour to lead you, at the 
same time, to understand that he only desires to 
serve you, and while appearing to regret the injuries 


you have sustained, will doubtless let fall some remark 
such as will raise your suspicion, of which you must 
avail yourself by making the required preparations, 
although this very act not improbably may lead to 
the rupture. 

" He, however, who advises you to take no precau- 
tion, believe me, is not your friend ; but he who 
would say, ' Strengthen the walls of your fortress,' 
gives you a reason to believe that he does not desire 
to enjoy your possessions ; he again who would say to 
you, ' You have too many friends and attendants, 
and you expend too much money in maintaining 
them/ gives you reason to believe that he does not 
like your honourable and secure position. So you 
see, you are in great danger if you take no measure 
of precaution, while again, if you do, you are very 
likely to bring about a conflict. But since you wish 
me to advise you how to act in this case, I will re- 
count to you what happened to a certain very brave 

" The holy and good King Ferdinand, having be- 
sieged Seville, had amongst his followers three knights, 
who were considered the best and bravest in the 
world. One was Lorenzo Suarez Gallinato, another 
was Garciperez de Vargas, but the name of the 
other I have forgotten. These three knights had, one 
day, a dispute among themselves as to who was the 
most daring and valiant ; and, since they could not 
agree in any other manner, they each determined to 
reach the gate of Seville, and to strike it with their 


lances. The following morning they armed, and 
rode towards the city. Now when the Moors who 
were on the bastions and towers saw only three 
knights, they thought that they came as envoys, so 
allowed them to pass the moat, and parapet, and 
arrive at the city gate. On reaching the gate, each 
knight struck it with his lance, and having done so, 
turned his horse's head towards the camp. When 
the Moors saw the knights returning without leaving 
any message, they concluded that they had come 
only to offer an insult, and so determined to pursue 
them. On opening the gate the Moors found that 
the knights had already gone some distance ; never- 
theless they followed them with fifteen hundred 
horse, and more than twenty thousand foot. Now 
when the three knights saw the Moors approaching, 
they turned their horses, and waited their arrival; 
but, on their coming nearer, the knight, whose name 
I have forgotten, was the first to charge them, 
whilst Lorenzo Suarez and Garciperez remained 
quiet ; but, on the Moors coming still nearer, Gar- 
ciperez charged them also, Lorenzo Suarez still 
remaining stationary until the Moors forced him to 
the attack ; when he threw himself among them 
and performed wonderful acts of valour. When 
the royal army saw their knights surrounded by 
the Moors, they hastened to their assistance, as they 
saw them in great danger ; but, by the mercy of 
God, none of these knights were mortally (although 
severely) wounded. The conflict, however, between 


the Moors and Christians became so general that 
king Ferdinand was obliged to approach in person ; 
and on that day the Christians displayed great valour. 

" When the king returned to the camp, he ordered 
these three knights to be brought before him, telling 
them that they deserved death for having acted so 
foolishly, by having without his orders brought on a 
general engagement ; thereby causing the loss of many 
brave soldiers. The chiefs of the army, however, 
interceded with the king for them, and they were 
liberated in consequence. 

"Soon after, the king, hearing that the knights had 
acted from a spirit of emulation, ordered them to 
attend again, and assembled all the most valiant men 
of his army ; so that they might decide which was 
the bravest. The debate was animated, each bring- 
ing forth good reason for praising his own party 
some maintaining that he who first attacked the 
Moors displayed the greatest courage ; others giving 
preference to the second ; the decision, however, was 
given thus : 

" If the Moors who approached had not been so 
numerous, and could skill and courage have con- 
quered, then the knight who first charged them 
only began that which he might have completed; 
but, since this was not the case, he must have 
approached, not to conquer, but, through shame of 
flight, and an inability to resist the influence of fear, 
therefore it was that he made the attack. The 
second had better hopes than the first, because he 


resisted acting in an hopeless cause and bore longer 
the emotions consequent upon his perilous position. 
But, Lorenzo Suarez Gallinato, who waited until the 
Moors attacked him, was judged to be the most 

" And you, my lord, although you are kept in the 
state of alarm and suspicion of which you now com- 
plain, yet engage not in a struggle the end of which 
you cannot forsee, continue to exercise your good 
sense, and do not suffer yourself to be led away 
by false reports. Your defences are good, so that, 
even from a sudden attack, you cannot receive much 

"I advise you now, my lord, to be of good 
cheer, since you cannot be seriously injured. Wait 
before you act, for perhaps you will see that the re- 
ports which annoy you are not true. Those who 
create these alarms seek only their own interest; 
and believe me, whether they be of your own or 
your enemy's people, they are indifferent whether it 
be war or peace; their object being only that they 
may be favoured with an opportunity during the 
commotion to gratify their wicked passions so that, 
during the conflict between you and your enemy, 
they may possess themselves, not only of that belong- 
ing to yourself, but of that which belongs to others, 
without fear of punishment. 

" So that you are secured against any sudden attack, 
it is much better to wait until the wrong comes from 
the other side. Be patient all may yet end well 


God will be with you, which in such a cause is no 
small matter. Again, all people will know that you 
act only for your own preservation ; nor can your 
enemy declare himself aggrieved. Thus may you 
preserve peace, which is agreeable to the will of God 
and all good men." 

Don Juan, finding this to be a good example, 
wrote the following lines, which say : 

When danger comes, haste not to meet it, 
Quietly wait, yet boldly treat it. 


Of these three knights of the thirteenth century we have 
little on record. Don Lorenzo Suarez Gallinato has, however, 
been mentioned in another example, the forty-ninth chapter 
of this woik, by Don Manuel, where he appears, although a 
Christian, to have occupied the distinguished post of Chief of 
the body-guard to the King of Granada. 

Of Garcio Perez Vargas the genealogy has been carefully 
traced by Argote de Molina, in his Nobleza de Andalucia, fol. 
96-122, where he is mentioned as one of the nobles of Count 
Don Pedro. The most brilliant part of his career was at the 
siege of Seville, and at the battle of Zeres, where he was 
knighted by the hand of Don Alvar Perez de Castro, for hav- 
ing killed the King of Ganzules. His name is perpetuated by 
an inscription still existing over the gate of Zeres at Seville, ot 
which the following is a translation : 

" Hercules built me, 
Julius Caesar surrounded me with walls and lofty towers, 

A Gothic King lost me, 

The holy King won me, 
Assisted by Garcio Perez de Vargas." 

The brother of this hero, Diego Perez de Vargas, is men- 


tioned by Cervantes as a man of great prowess and valour 
Fighting bravely one day at the siege of Seville, against the 
Moors, he broke his sword, when seizing a heavy branch or 
trunk of an oak tree, he, with his terrible weapon, caused such 
destruction among his enemies that he was nicknamed "El 
Machaco (the Pounder,)" from the Spanish word Machacar, 
to pound. Since then the family have assumed the name and 
have been known as Vargas y Machacar (Don Quixote, cap. 8). 


Treats of that which happened to Don Rodrigo el 
Franco and his knights. 

NE day as Count Lucanor was con- 
versing with Patronio his counsellor, 
he said : " Patronio, it has happened 
that I have had many great wars, and 
of such a kind that I have often found myself much 
embarrassed. Upon one occasion I was in the 
greatest distress, when those to whom I have done 
much service, and who are indebted to me for all 
they possess, deserted me, nay more, even exerted 
themselves to injure me. Such conduct, to tell you 
truly, has given me a worse opinion of mankind 
than I had before I knew these people : I therefore 
request your advice how to act under these cir- 

"My lord," said Patronio, "if those people who 


have acted so ungratefully were like Nunez de 
Fuente Almejir and Ruy Gonzalez de Zavallos and 
Gutierre Rodriguez de Langueruella, and had known 
what happened to them, they would not have acted 
as they have done." 

" How was that ? " said the Count. 

" My Lord/' said Patron io, " it happened thus ; 
The Count Rodrigo el Franco married a lady of 
rank, daughter of Garcia de Azagra. This lady was 
very virtuous; but the Count, her husband, calum- 
niated her. Having no other resource, she prayed 
to God that if she were guilty He would demonstrate 
it by a miracle ; and if the Count had falsely accused 
her, He would show it also by a miracle. Scarcely 
was the prayer ended, when, by a miracle of God, 
the Count was smitten with leprosy, and she parted 
from him. Soon after this separation, the King of 
Navarre having sent his Ambassador to demand the 
hand of the lady, she accepted him and became 
Queen of Navarre. The Count being leprous, and 
seeing that his disease could not be cured, made a 
pilgrimage to the Holy Land that he might die 
there. Now, although he had been much honoured 
and had many faithful retainers, yet there accom- 
panied him only the three knights of whom I have 
spoken, who dwelt there so long that they expended 
all they had brought from their own country, and 
were reduced to such poverty that they had nothing 
to give the Count to eat. Being so reduced, they 
resolved that two of them should each day go to the 


market-place for hire, while the other remained with 
the Count, and in this way they supported their 
lord ; as also every night they bathed and wiped the 
wounds of the leper. It happened one night, as they 
were bathing his arms and legs, that they felt inclined 
to spit, and so spat. When the Count saw that all 
spat, and believing that they did it from the disgust 
which his malady created, he began to weep, greatly 
regretting the dislike and repugnance which they 
evinced towards him; when they, wishing to con- 
vince the Count that they felt no disgust, took up 
in their hands some of the water, impure as it was, 
and drank freely of it. In this manner they con- 
tinued devoted to the Count until he died. They 
then determined that it would be wrong to return 
to Castille without the Count, living or dead; so 
they resolved to take his body with them. The 
distance making this difficult, the natives advised 
them to boil the body and take the bones, but they 
replied they would never consent to this, for as they 
had not allowed any one to touch their lord during 
his life, neither would they now that he was dead. 
They then buried him, and waited patiently until 
all the flesh had perished from off his bones, which 
they collected, and placing them in a chest, carried 
them back to Castille on their shoulders, begging 
their food as they went, and although bearing 
evident marks of their wretched poverty, arrived 
nevertheless in good health at Tolosa. 

" On one occasion, as they entered a city on their 


way, they met a crowd of people who were leading 
a lady of rank to be burned, she having been ac- 
cused by her husband's brother of adultery, and the 
sentence would be fulfilled unless a knight were 
found who would defend her. 

" Now, when Pero Nunez, of noble and loyal 
character, heard that, for want of a defender, she 
might be lost, he told her relations that if he knew 
the lady to be innocent he would save her, and he 
requested the lady herself to reveal to him the whole 
truth. She said she certainly had not committed the 
crime of which they accused her, but that she had 
had the intention of doing so. Pero Nunez, on 
hearing that she had had the intention to do what 
she ought not, felt assured that some misfortune 
would happen to whomsoever might defend her ; but 
since he had already espoused her cause, and knew 
that she had not committed the crime of which they 
accused her, he declared himself her champion. 
Her accusers attempted to prevent his interference 
under the plea of his not being noble ; but Pero 
Nunez having proved his nobility, and that they 
could not prevent him, the friends of the lady 
furnished him with a horse and arms. Before 
entering the arena he said to her friends, that, with 
the assistance of God, he would save the lady and 
return with honour, but that he felt assured some 
harm would befall him for the evil which she had 
intended doing. 

"Soon after entering the arena, by the help of 



God, Pero Nunez vanquished his adversary and 
saved the lady, but in doing so lost an eye, and so 
was that fulfilled which he had anticipated. 

"The lady and her relations made so many pre- 
sents to Pero Nunez, that he and his two com- 
panions were able to pursue their journey with more 
ease, still carrying the bones of their lord. 

"As they were themselves without leprosy, the 
King of Castille, hearing of their approach, and that 
they were carrying with them the bones of their 
master, expressed himself much gratified to have 
amongst his subjects such faithful vassals. He sent, 
therefore, a request that they should come direct to 
him on foot, dressed just as they were. On the day 
they returned to the kingdom of Castille, the King 
himself went on foot five leagues beyond the 
frontiers of his dominions to meet them. On their 
arrival they received so many gifts from the King 
and the people, that they not only became rich 
themselves, but their descendants also after them. 

" Now the King and all those who accompanied 
him came to do honour to the memory of the 
Count, but more especially to the devotion shown 
by the three knights. They all followed the remains 
of the leper until they arrived at Osma, where they 
were interred, after which the three knights separated, 
and each returned to his home. 

"The day Ruy Gonzalez arrived at his house, 
and was seated at table with his wife, she seeing the 
good meat which was placed before her, raised her 


hands to heaven, and said, ' Lord ! blessed mayest 
thou be, that thou hast permitted me to see this day, 
for thou knowest that since Ruy Gonzalez departed 
from this country this is the first time that I have 
eaten meat or drunk wine ; ' and Ruy Gonzalez was 
grieved and said, ' Why have you done so ? ' Do ' you 
not remember/ said she, 'that when you departed 
with the Count, and vowed that you would not 
return without him, you expressed a wish that I 
should live as a good and honest wife, wanting not 
bread and water ; and since you said that, would it 
have been right to disobey your wishes ? and for this 
have I eaten only bread and water.' 

" Pero Nunez, arriving at his house, was received 
by his wife and friends with great joy, and so great 
was their pleasure that they could not look at him 
without laughing, so much so, that Pero Nunez was 
impressed with the feeling that they laughed because 
he had lost an eye ; so, with an air of chagrin, he 
covered his head with his cloak and threw himself 
on the bed. His good wife, seeing him so sad, was 
greatly afflicted, and so earnestly did she urge him to 
tell her the cause of his grief, that he was constrained 
to say he thought they laughed at him for having 
lost his eye. No sooner had she heard this than, 
seizing a needle, she thrust it in her own eye, 
thereby destroying it, and exclaiming, ' Henceforth 
if any one laughs it cannot be in contempt of you.' 
And so God rewarded these trusty knights for their 
fidelity and honour. 


"And now, my lord, I say as before, if those 
of whom you complain had been like these three 
knights, or had even known what happened to them, 
they would not have conducted themselves as they 
have done. 

" But to you, Count Lucanor, permit me to say 
that the evil conduct of these people must not pre- 
vent you from doing good when it is in your power. 
It is not necessary to separate those to whom you 
have been serviceable from those you may have 
injured ; but were you to do so, you would pro- 
bably find that you have received more good from 
the first than evil from the latter. It would be 
foolish to expect gratitude from all men to whom 
you have rendered service ; but it might so happen 
that one of those people may so remunerate you 
with his devotion, as would compensate you for all 
the good you have done to others." 

The Count estimated this as a wise and virtuous 
precept. And it being considered by Don Juan as 
a narrative worthy to be retained, he ordered it to 
be written in this book, and made these lines : 

Though others injure thee, or spite, 
Yet cease not thou to do aright. 


Although each age and country may have its distinguishing 
glory, whether it be the wisdom of Athens, the arts of Greece, 
or the heroism of Rome, or the chivalry of the Crusaders, 
none is perhaps more attractive in its character than the last- 


named, and it is in this that Don Manuel has depicted that 
patient and devoted fidelity displayed by his three knights to 
their degraded and expatriated lord, in which their feudal 
honour and allegiance knew no check until their mission was 
completely fulfilled. The little interlude of gallantry displayed 
by Pero Nunez, so neatly introduced, showing that even an evil 
intention not carried into effect brings with it always a certain 
punishment, demands our approval. 

The names and chivalric deeds of these three knights have 
been handed down to posterity in the Nobiliare of Argote de 


Of a Hermit who fought to know whom he should 
have for his companion in Paradise, and of the 
leap made by King Richard of England. 

NE day Count Lucanor having called 
Patronio, said to him, "Patronio, I 
have great faith in your understanding, 
and believe that in any matter which 
you could not comprehend or give advice about no 
other man could succeed ; I beg therefore that you 
will advise me as best you can on that which I am 
now going to tell you. 

" You know very well that I am no longer young 
and that I have been engaged all my life in one war 


or another; sometimes against the Christians, at 
other times the Moors, or kings to whom I owe 
allegiance, and again, with my more powerful neigh- 
bours. Now, whenever I chanced to be engaged 
against the Christians I always carefully avoided, as 
far as possible, being the aggressor ; nevertheless, it 
was difficult to act without sometimes inflicting 
serious damage on many who did not deserve it. 
Now, for these and the other sins which I have 
committed, I know I shall one day have to answer ; 
and as death is certain, and at my age cannot be 
very far distant, I desire, while I have yet time, to 
obliterate by good works and deeds of penance my 
numerous offences, so that, when I appear in the 
presence of God, I may be worthy of His mercy 
and a place in Paradise. I pray you, Patronio, as 
you know how I have hitherto lived, to counsel me 
now how to act, so as to make reparation for past 
errors, and attain the happy end I so ardently 

" My lord," said Patronio, " I am much pleased 
at all you have just told me, particularly for the per- 
mission you have given me to advise you concerning 
your present state of life ; had I less confidence in 
your friendship I might think you merely sought to 
prove me as the king did his favourite, the history 
of which I related to you the other day. But I am 
most pleased to see you really desire to make re- 
paration for the sins you have committed against 
God, without however renouncing your duties or 


sacrificing your honour; for certainly, were you to 
retire from the world and become a monk, you would 
be guilty of one or both of the above-named faults. 

" Firstly, people would say that you were de- 
ficient in judgment or courage to be contented 
merely to live useless amongst the good men of this 
century ; and secondly, it would surprise me very 
much if you could endure the continued asperities 
of a monkish life, which, if you were afterwards 
to forsake or continue to live therein, careless of 
fulfilling or forgetful of the duties of your state, 
it would be a very serious injury to your soul, a 
dishonour to your name, and a blot on your 

" But since you have formed the good resolution 
to save your soul, permit me to recount to you what 
God revealed to a very holy hermit, as also what 
happened to him and King Richard of England." 

" I pray you," replied the Count, " to inform 
me of these particulars." 

"My lord," said Patronio, "there was a hermit 
who led a very good life, and who laboured much, 
enduring many hardships for the glory of God, 
insomuch that God in His great mercy and grace 
promised him that he should be admitted to the 
glory of Paradise. 

" The hermit thanked God very sincerely and 
on this point was well satisfied, but prayed that yet 
another favour might be granted him, which was 
that he might see who was to be his companion in 


Paradise. The Lord made known to him by an 
angel that he ought not to ask these questions ; but 
so earnest were his prayers, that God thought well 
to send one of his heavenly spirits a second time to 
inform him that he should have Richard, King of 
England, for his companion in Paradise. 

" Although this revelation pleased the hermit, yet 
it very much astonished him, for he knew King 
Richard, and also that he was a great warrior, causing 
the death of many innocent people, and pillaging 
towns and driving the inhabitants into exile; now 
that this man was to be his companion in Paradise, 
having always led a life so contrary to his, appeared 
passing strange, as he had always thought King 
Richard very far removed from the road to sal- 

" The Lord seeing his little faith, again sent an 
angel to tell him not to doubt, but to believe im- 
plicitly that which had been revealed to him. 

" ' Know you not/ said the angel, ' that King 
Richard has done no less service to God than your_ 
self, and equally merits Paradise in reward for his 
leap, as you do for all the good works performed 
during your life.' Now this information only in- 
creased the astonishment of the hermit, who wondered 
what this could be. 

" The angel replied thus, ' The Kings of France, 
of Navarre, and of England joined in the crusade 
beyond seas; when they arrived at the port they 
saw, as they prepared to land, so large a multitude of 


Moors on the coast that they feared being able to 
disembark. It was then that the King of France 
sent to the King of England who was already on 
horseback. On hearing what the envoy had to say, 
and that the King of France desired his presence on 
board his ship to counsel together as to what was 
best to be done, he replied, That for his part 
his resolution was taken, come what might; feeling 
very sensible that he had often failed in the due 
performance of his duty to God, and had committed 
many sins in this world, nevertheless he had always 
prayed for forgiveness and that an opportunity might 
be granted him during his life to make amends ; 
now he praised God, for he saw the way he had 
long hoped for, since, if he was killed, being truly 
penitent, he felt certain that for what he was about 
to do God would pardon his manifold sins; and 
if, on the contrary, the Moors were conquered, it 
would be rendering a great service to God ; so 
that, come what would, all was for the best. 

" ' And, having said this, he commended his body 
and soul to God, and praying for His holy protection, 
made the sign of the Cross, and ordering his soldiers 
to follow him, stuck his spurs into his horse and 
jumped into the sea facing the coast where the 
Moors were assembled ; this being near the port, 
the sea was very deep, yet the king and his horse 
did not disappear. 

" ' But God, as a merciful Lord and full of power, 
remembering what He had said in the Gospel, "That 


He did not desire the death of a sinner, but rather 
that he should be converted and live," helped the 
King of England, and saved him from the death of 
this world, so that he escaped the perils of the sea. 
The English, seeing this brave act of their king, 
followed him into the water and joined him in battle 
against the Moors. 

" 'When the Navarrais and French saw this they 
felt ashamed to remain on board their ships, and, 
not being accustomed to endure disgrace, jumped 
also into the sea and joined in the conflict. The 
Moors seeing them approach, and admiring this 
brave contempt of danger, durst not wait for 
them, but abandoned the port and fled towards 
the country, but many were overtaken and killed. 
The Christians were very prosperous and gained 
much glory for God, all of which resulted from the 
brave leap made by King Richard of England ! ' 

"When the hermit heard this he was well pleased, 
and saw how that God favoured him in permitting 
him to be the companion in Paradise of a man 
who had done so well in the service of God and 
in exalting the Catholic Faith. 

" And you, Count Lucanor, if you wish to serve 
God and obtain forgiveness of your sins, try, before 
you leave this earth, to make amends for the wrongs 
which you have done to others, be penitent for your 
sins without taking thought for the things of this 
world, which are but vanity. Take no heed of those 
who may say your acts are but to obtain worldly 


credit, nor of those who would engage you in 
unworthy enterprises to gratify your self-love, by 
which much evil is committed ; for, after all, what is 
ambition ? Far from following such a course, full 
of peril, direct your energies so that you may merit 
eternal life, and as it has pleased God to place you 
in a country where you can fight against the Moors, 
both by sea and land, so also let all your efforts be 
directed to the service of your country, being sure 
that, having made amends to God for the sins you 
have committed, and being truly penitent, you will 
undoubtedly receive the reward for the good which 
you have done and will do, together with complete 
forgiveness, so that you can rest satisfied in the 
service of God even to the end of your days. This, 
I think, is the best plan you can adopt for the salva- 
tion of your soul and the preservation of your estates 
and honour ; and should you be slain while in the 
service of God, your death will be that of a martyr : 
also, should you die when in the enjoyment of peace, 
you will be blessed for the good works you have 
done ; nor could any man speak ill of you, for all 
would know that you have done everything required 
of an honourable knight and a faithful servant of 
God, and that you had ceased to be a slave of the 
devil, abstaining from all the vanities of this world, 
which are so deceitful. 

"And now, Count Lucanor, I have given you my 
advice as you have demanded, and have instructed 
you how to save your soul in your present state ol 


life ; hold fast your good resolutions, and you will 
resemble King Richard of England in the leap which 
he made." 

And the Count was well pleased with the counsels 
which Patronio gave him, and prayed that an oppor- 
tunity might be granted to him in like manner to 
serve God as he desired in his heart. 

And Don Juan saw that this example was very 
good, and ordered it to be written in this book, and 
composed the following lines : 

So shall a man reach, by a leap, to heaven, 
Obeying trustfully the laws that God hath given. 


The wild project of Peter the Hermit, which roused all Europe 
to arms in the Ilth century, has been a fruitful source of 
laudatory prose and verse even to the present day; nor has it, 
as we see, escaped the versatile genius of our author, Don Manuel, 
who, in this chapter, has not only illustrated the heroism and 
self-devotion of the age, but has also depicted the Pharisaism of 
the hermit, recalling to our minds also, in the record of the heroic 
leap of Richard Coeur de Lion, the parable of Jesus, wherein the 
householder rewards the workman of the eleventh hour, saying to 
him who murmured, " Take that thine is, and go thy way ; I will 
give unto this last even as unto thee." 



Of that which happened to the Emperor Frederick and 
Don Alvar Fanes, with their wives. 

OUNT LUCANOR, conversing one day 
with his counsellor Patronio, said, "I 
have two brothers who are married 
and maintain in their establishments a 
conduct entirely different. One is so enamoured of 
his wife as to be unable to leave her a single minute; 
he does only that which she wishes, and never 
decides on anything whatever without first having 
taken her advice. The other, on the contrary, allows 
nothing to be done but what he wishes ; we cannot 
persuade him to live with his wife, or even take any 
notice of her. I am afflicted, equally, to find so 
much weakness in the one and so much aversion in 
the other. Tell me, then, I pray you, the means, if 
there be any, to remedy such a state of things." 

"My lord," replied Patronio, "you are right in 
saying your brothers are equally to blame ; but what 
can you do ? The influence of women is very power- 
ful, and often urges us to do wrong to please them. 
Nevertheless, I would desire you to hear what hap- 
pened to the Emperor Frederick and to Don Alvar 
Fanez with their wives, which I think you will find 
not to be without application to this case." 


" Willingly," said the Count. And Patronio pro- 
ceeded as follows : 

" As I have two histories to recount, and cannot 
tell you both at once, I will first relate that of the 
Emperor Frederick, and then pass on to that of Don 
Alvar Fanez. The Emperor Frederick married a 
lady of very high position and birth, suitable to his 
rank ; but still they were not happy, for he knew 
not before the marriage her real character. But 
after their union (although she was a very virtuous 
woman), she became the most daring, violent, and 
perverse person in the world; for if the Emperor 
desired to eat, she desired to fast ; if he wished to 
sleep, it would be her wish to arise ; everything in 
which the Emperor took pleasure was to her an 
object of aversion, and all his desires she opposed 
by doing exactly the contrary. The Emperor 
suffered this state of things a long time, and felt 
that he was unable to better his position ; for 
neither prayers, persuasions, nor even threats, 
availed anything: good and bad treatment were 
alike unsuccessful. His whole life was made miser- 
able, and he became perplexed as to what he should 
do, as much for his people as for himself. At last 
he resolved to appeal to the Pope, and related to 
him all his troubles respecting the conduct of the 
Empress, begging that he would agree to their 

" ' I see/ said the Pope, ' that, according to the 
Christian religion, a separation cannot be permitted ; 


yet, on the other hand, it is impossible to live with 
the Empress, in consequence of her violent temper. 
What can be done? The Supreme Law does not 
permit me to inflict penance unless actual sin has 
been committed j but I leave you at liberty to act as 
you consider most wise and convenient.' 

" The Emperor, after hearing the Pope's opinion, 
was very much concerned how to act ; whether by 
persuasion, reasoning, or kindness, so as to remedy 
the present state of things. But still he found all 
his efforts of no avail ; the more he strove to obtain 
peace, the more perverse the Empress became. 

" Now, as the Emperor saw that nothing could be 
done, he one day expressed a wish to go stag-hunt- 
ing, and made a poisonous preparation of herbs to 
put on the arrows, thereby rendering the wound fatal. 
Putting away a part of this preparation to be in readi- 
ness for another hunt, he requested the Empress not 
to touch it on any account whatever, whether for the 
itch or any unhealed eruption ; for, said he, ' it is 
so very poisonous that it would destroy any living 
thing ; but here is another ointment, very excellent 
and much approved of.' The Emperor then applied 
some of the latter to heal some spots which he had, 
so that all present might bear witness to its utility in 
curing such complaints. All this was done in the 
presence of the knights and ladies there assembled, 
after which he departed for the chase. 

" Now, the Empress, who had heard him in 
silence, laughed, and said, 'What deceit; I know 


well that our ailments are different, and he has 
recommended me to use this ointment which he 
employs because it cannot cure me ; but I am not so 
foolish, I will urve the forbidden ointment, and on 
his return he will find me well, and this, I know, 
will enrage him ; so much the better it is another 
reason for my using it.' 

"All who were present tried to dissuade the 
Empress, both by their tears and supplications. 
' Your death is certain/ said they, ' if that poison is 
used.' But all without avail. For scarcely had she 
applied the ointment when her agony and with it, 
her regret commenced. But it was too late ; 
nothing could save her. Thus she died, a victim to 
her own perverse disposition. 

"But to Don Alvar Fanez it happened quite 
otherwise. And, in order that you may understand 
the whole, I will now recount his history to you. 

"Alvar Fanez was a very good man, and was 
much honoured. He colonized the village of Ysca, 
where he resided, together with Count Pero Anzurez, 
who had with him three daughters. 

" One day Don Alvar Fanez paid an unexpected 
visit to the Count, who, nevertheless, expressed 
himself much gratified, and, after they had dined 
together, desired to be informed the cause of his 
unexpected visit. Don Alvar Fanez replied that he 
came to demand one of his daughters in marriage, 
and requested permission to see the three ladies, that 
he might speak to each of them separately, when he 


would select the one he should desire in marriage. 
Now the Count, feeling that God would bless that 
proposition, agreed to it. 

"So Don Alvar Fanez, taking aside the eldest 
daughter, said that, if it was agreeable to her, he 
desired to marry her; but, before pursuing his suit, 
begged to recount to her something concerning 
himself which she ought to know. ' I am,' said 
he, 'not very young, and, in consequence of many 
wounds received by me in various conflicts, my 
intellects have become weakened; when I drink a 
little wine, I know not what I say or do, and am 
often very violent, but regret all this very sincerely 
on coming to my senses ; also, I am much troubled 
in my sleep, and suffer from various other causes ; 
indeed, so much so that few women would consent 
to marry me.' When he had said this, the daughter 
of the Count replied, 'The marriage does not de- 
pend on me, but on my parents.' 

" On hearing this reply Don Alvar Faflez returned 
to her father, who inquired of his daughter, if the 
proposed alliance was agreeable to her, and found 
that, since the interview, she would rather die than 
marry him. The Count, not wishing to explain the 
cause, simply said his daughter did not wish to 

"Don Alvar Fanez then had an interview with 
the second daughter, when he spoke in the same 
manner as he had done to the first ; and it produced 
the same result. He then repeated to the youngest 



daughter all he had said to the two others. She 
replied, however, that she thanked God very much 
that Don Alvar Fanez desired to marry her ; and as 
to what he had said about the wine making him ill, 
should it happen at any time when he was apart 
from his attendants, she would assist him better than 
any other person in the world. With respect to his 
age, she would not decline on that account, but was 
satisfied with the honour of being his wife. And 
as to his being furious and rough with his people, 
she would take care not to excite him, and if hurt 
herself she knew how to suffer. And to all the 
things which Don Alvar Fanez said, she replied 
so favourably that he was very well satisfied, and 
thanked God that he had found a woman with such 
an understanding, and told the Count, her father, 
that he desired to marry this his youngest daughter, 
whose name was Vascunana. The Count and his 
wife were much gratified at this announcement, and 
quickly made arrangements for the marriage. 

" After the marriage, Don Alvar Fanez returned 
home with his wife, whom he found to be so good 
a housekeeper and so prudent that he considered 
himself very fortunate in marrying her, and therefore 
resolved to do only that which was agreeable to her, 
because God had given her so many good qualities 
and an excellent understanding. She, on her part, 
loved her husband very much, and felt that all he did 
or said was right and for the best. She never dis- 
approved of or contradicted him in that which she 


knew to be agreeable to him ; nor did he think she 
flattered, or acted with a view to deceive him, and 
so gain his esteem. For this reason, Don Alvar 
Fanez loved his wife, and regarded her as one whose 
honour and care for his interests he had no reason to 

"It happened one day when Don Alvar Fanez 
was at home, there came to visit him a nephew of 
his who was attached to the King's household. 
After he had been in the house some days, he said 
to Don Alvar Fanez, 'You are a good and accom- 
plished man, but there is one fault I find with 
you.' His uncle desired to know what it was. 
To which the nephew replied, ' It may be but a 
small fault, but it is this, you study your wife too 
much, and make her too great a mistress of you and 
your affairs.' 

"'As to that,' Don Alvar Faftez replied, 'I will 
give you an answer in a few days/ 

" After this, Don Alvar Fanez made a journey on 
horseback to a distant part of the country, taking 
with him his nephew, where he remained some 
time, and then sent for his wife Vascunana to meet 
him on the road as he returned. When they had 
journeyed some time without conversing, Don Alvar 
Fanez being in advance, they chanced to meet a large 
drove of cows, when Don Alvar said to his nephew, 
' See what famous mares we have in this country.' 

" The nephew, on hearing this, was surprised, 
and thought he said it in jest, and asked him how he 


could say so when they were but cows. At this, his 
uncle feigned to be quite astonished, saying, ' You are 
mistaken, or have lost your wits, for they certainly 
are mares.' The nephew, seeing his uncle persist in 
what he had said, and that, too, with so much 
energy, became alarmed and thought his uncle had 
lost his understanding. The dispute, however, con- 
tinued in this manner until they met Dona Vascu- 
nana, who was now seen on the road approaching 
them. No sooner did Don Alvar Fanez perceive 
his wife, than he said to his nephew, ' Here is my 
wife, Vascunana, who will be able to settle our dis- 

" The nephew was glad of this opportunity, and 
no sooner did she meet them than he said, 'Aunt, 
my uncle and I have a dispute. He says that those 
cows are mares; I say they are cows. And we 
have so long contended this point, that he considers 
me as mad, while I think he is but little better. So 
we beg you will settle our dispute.' 

" Now when Dona Vascunana heard this, although 
they appeared to her to be cows, yet, as her hus- 
band had said to the contrary, and she knew that 
no one was better able than he to distinguish one 
from the other, and that he never erred, she, trust- 
ing entirely to his judgment, declared they were, 
beyond all doubt, mares, and not cows. ' It grieves 
me much, nephew,' continued Vascunana, 'to hear 
you contest the point ; and God knows it is a great 
pity you have not better judgment, with all the ad- 


vantages you have had in living in the King's house- 
hold, where you have been so long, than not to be 
able to distinguish mares from cows.' She then began 
to show how, both in their colour and form, and in 
many other points, they were mares and not cows ; 
and that what Don Alvar had said was true. And 
so strongly did she affirm this, that not only her 
nephew, but those who were with them began to 
think they were themselves mistaken. 

"After this Don Alvar Fanez and his nephew 
proceeded. They had not, however, journeyed long 
before they saw a large, drove of mares. ' Now 
these,' said Don Alvar Fanez, ' are cows, but those 
we have seen, which you call cows, were not so.' 

"When the nephew heard this, he exclaimed, 
' Uncle, for God's sake 1 if what you say be true, 
the devil has brought me to this country ; for cer- 
tainly, if these are cows, then have I lost my senses, 
for in all parts of the world these are mares, and 
not cows.' But Don Alvar persisted that he was right 
in saying they were cows and not mares. And thus 
they argued until Vascunana came up to them, when 
they related to her what had been said between them. 

" Now, although she thought her nephew right, 
yet, for the same reasons as before, she said so much 
in support of her husband, and that, too, with such 
apparent truth and inward conviction, that the 
nephew and those with the mares began to think that 
their sight and judgment erred and that what Don 
Alvar had said was true ; and so the debate ended. 


" Again Don Alvar and his nephew proceeded on 
their road homewards, and had proceeded a consider- 
able distance when they arrived at a river, on the 
banks of which were a number of mills. While 
their horses were drinking, Don Alvar remarked 
that the river ran in the direction from which it 
flowed, and that the mills received their water from 
the contrary point. When the nephew heard this, he 
thought to a certainty he himself had lost his senses, 
for as he appeared to be wrong with respect to the 
mares and cows, so might he be in error here also, 
and the river might really run towards and not from 
its source. Nevertheless he contended the point. 
When Vascunana, on her arrival, found them again 
warmly disputing, she begged to know the cause. 
They then informed her ; when, although, as before, 
it appeared to her that the nephew was right, yet 
she could not be persuaded that her husband was 
wrong, and so again supported his opinion ; and this 
time with so many good arguments, that the nephew 
and those present felt they must have been in 
error. And it remains a proverb to this day that, 
' If the husband affirms that the river runs up to its 
source, the good-wife ought to believe it, and say 
that it is true.' 

" Now when the nephew had heard all this, sup- 
posing that Don Alvar Fanez must be right, he 
began to feel very unhappy, and to suspect that he 
was losing his senses. 

" Still pursuing their journey Don Alvar Fanez 


observed his nephew to be very sad and depressed, 
so said to him, ' Now, nephew, understand that I 
have given you an answer to what you said to me 
the other day, when you and others blamed me for 
having so much confidence in my wife Vascunana. 
All that you have seen to-day I have done in order 
that you might become acquainted with her real 
character, and that consequently my trust in her is 
not misplaced. I knew very well that the animals 
we first found, and which I called mares, were 
really cows, as you said ; and when Dona Vascunana 
arrived and heard that I said they were mares I 
knew certainly that she thought you were right, but 
because she had confidence in me, and thought it 
impossible for me to err, gave it as her opinion that 
you were wrong respecting the animals and the 
river, and that too with such apparent good reasons. 
And I tell you truly that, from the day we were 
married, she has not done one thing to disoblige me ; 
she believes that I always judge and act for the best, 
wishes all the people to understand that I am the 
master, and arranges all things so that I may take 
pleasure in them. So now, nephew, you have the 
answer which I promised you the other day, when 
you reproached me with the fault of confiding too 
much in my wife.' 

"The nephew, having heard these reasons, de- 
clared himself much pleased ; and seeing how trusting 
Dona Vascuflana was, and in what esteem she held 
her husband, he acknowledged Don Alvar was not on 


his part too considerate and loving. Thus you see 
how different were the wives of the Emperor and 
Don Alvar Fanez. 

"And so, Count Lucanor, if your brothers are so 
different, the one doing all his wife desires and the 
other doing quite the contrary, it is perhaps because 
their wives are like the Empress and Dona Vascunana. 
And, if such is the case, you cannot wonder at nor 
blame them for their conduct ; but if it is not so, 
then indeed your brothers are wrong, one for con- 
ceding too much to his wife, who does not merit it, 
the other for estranging himself from his wife, who 
deserves his affection. But there is a limit to even 
this, no man should so indulge his wife in all her 
desires as to forsake his duty or honour. His love 
must be tempered with discretion, and not the one 
sacrificed to the other. Again, he should carefully 
avoid being too fastidious in that which is unim- 
portant or of no concern to him, for it is wrong to 
be too particular about trifles and foster a spirit of 
irritation and annoyance ; also, the frequent necessity 
of arranging these ridiculous quarrels tends only 
to injure the honourable feelings and reputation of 
both. Also, if any man should have such a wife as 
the Emperor's, and, like him, be unable to remedy 
his position, to him I can give no advice but to 
place his trust in Providence. But you know it is 
important to both that a man, from the day of his 
marriage, should give his wife to understand that he 


himself is the master, so that she may know the life 
she has to pass. 

"And you, Count Lucanor, after what I have 
related, will be able now to advise your brothers 
how to act with their wives." 

The Count was much pleased with what Patronio 
had told him, and found that what he had said was 
true and much to the purpose. 

And Don Juan, considering these as good ex- 
amples and worthy to be retained, ordered them 
to be written in this book; and made these lines, 
which say, 

A man at his marriage should teach his wife 
How he intends her to pass her life. 


The Count Don Alvar Faftez Minaya, referred to in this 
narrative, was cousin to the famous Cid, Ruy Diaz de Vivar. 
His mother was Dona Ximena Nunez, who married Fernan 
Laynez, brother of Diego Laynez, father of the Cid. 

Pero Anzurds was the founder of the Church of Valladolid 
in 1095. Nobleea de Andalusia, p. 104. 



Of that which happened to the Count of Provence 
and Saladin the Sultan of Babylon. 

NE day, as Count Lucanor and Patronio 
were conversing, the Count said : 

" Patronio, one of my vassals in- 
formed me the other day that he was 
anxious to get one of his relations married, and 
wished to consult me as to what was best to be 
done, so begged me to favour him with my advice. 
He informed me of all the conditions to be fulfilled 
for this marriage. Now, as he is a man who I am 
desirous should succeed in the world, and as I 
know you have a good knowledge of such things, 
I beg you will tell me how you think he should 
act, so that I may be enabled to give him such 
advice as shall be for his good." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " in order that you 
may be enabled to advise this man wisely I shall 
be happy to recount, with your permission, that 
which happened to the Count of Provence with 
Saladin, Sultan of Babylon." 

The Count requested Patronio to tell him what 
that was ; so he said : 


" My lord, there was a Count in Provence who 
was a very good man and who desired to live so that 
God might have mercy on his soul, and purchase by 
his good actions the glory of Paradise. In order to 
accomplish this he made a pilgrimage to the Holy 
Land, taking with him a great number of his de- 
pendants well-provisioned ; feeling in his heart that 
whatever happened to him would be fortunate, 
inasmuch as he had devoted himself to the service 
of God. But the ways of God are marvellous and 
inscrutable, and He sees good to place heavy 
temptations in the way of His servants ; yet, if the 
temptation be resisted from the love to God, it will 
prove always to the honour and advantage of the 
tempted ; thus it was that our Lord held it good to 
tempt the Count of Provence, and permitted him 
to be taken prisoner by the Sultan of Babylon. 

"Saladin, hearing the high reputation which the 
Count enjoyed, showed him much attention, and 
treated him honourably. In all his great under- 
takings he consulted his prisoner, and followed his 
advice. Such was the confidence in the Count that, 
although nominally a prisoner, the people so re- 
spected him that in all the dominions of the Sultan 
he felt almost as if he were in his own kingdom. 

"When the Count left his country he had a 
very young daughter who, during her father's long 
absence, had grown up and was now marriageable, 
upon which the Countess and her relations sent to 
inform the Count that many princes and great men 


had sought her in marriage. So, one day, when 
Saladin came to converse with the Count, the latter 
spoke to him in the following manner : 

" ' My lord, you have granted me many favours 
and have shown me much consideration ; this I feel 
a great honour, and, as you have deigned to consult 
me in many things, I pray your forgiveness if I 
now solicit your advice in a subject which deeply 
interests me.' 

"The Sultan was gracious and said he would 
advise him with great pleasure and assist him in 
anything whatever it might be. The Count then in- 
formed him of the proposals made for his daughter's 
hand, when Saladin replied as follows : 

" ' Count, I know your understanding to be such 
that with a few words you will be able to compre- 
hend the subject entirely. You tell me of all those 
who claim your daughter's hand, their lineage and 
power, and their relationship with you, but as I 
do not know their habits and customs, and what 
advantages the one possesses over the other, I 
can only advise you to marry your daughter to a 
worthy man.' 

" The Count thanked the Sultan, and sent word 
to the Countess and his relations, telling them what 
the Sultan had said, and that he wished to know 
all the particulars respecting the men and noblemen 
who were in the country, their habits and dis- 
positions; and told them also that they must put 
in writing the qualities possessed by the princes 


and men of high rank who demanded his daughter. 
The Countess and the Count's relations were much 
astonished, but did as the Count desired, and 
wrote in detail all the good and bad habits which 
distinguished those who aspired to an alliance 
with the Count ; and related to him everything 
respecting the noblemen who inhabited the country 
round about. 

" The Count, on receiving this reply, showed it 
to the Sultan, who found it a satisfactory report, 
except that the princes and noblemen had each 
some one fault or another either in their eating and 
drinking, or that they were irritable or morose, had 
a bad address, associated with low company, were 
in debt, or had some other failing. But one, the son 
of a very rich man, who, although not so powerful 
as the others, according to what was written, was, in 
the Sultan's opinion, the most suitable man, and so 
he recommended the Count to marry his daughter 
to that man ; for, although he understood the others 
to be more noble, it was better to esteem a man for 
his conduct than for his rank. 

" The Count now sent to request the Countess 
and his relatives to marry his daughter as Saladin 
had suggested. Although they were much surprised 
at this advice of the Count, they nevertheless sent 
for that son of the rich man and told him what the 
Count required, who replied that he knew well that 
the Count was nobler, richer, and more honoured 
than himself; if, therefore, the proposition was made 


in jest they did him injustice, for he thought himself 
worthy to marry the Count's daughter or any other 
lady. They replied they wished it seriously, and 
recounted to him how the Sultan had advised the 
Count, who would now give his daughter to him in 
preference to any of the princes or great noblemen 
who sought her, because he considered him the most 
worthy man. 

"Now when the rich man's son heard this he 
understood that they spoke in earnest of the mar- 
riage, and determined, since Saladin had chosen him 
from among so many other men, and done him so 
much honour, he would not fail in this case to do all 
that which, as an honourable man, was required of 
him ; he therefore called the Countess and the rela- 
tions of the Count and told them, as he believed they 
had spoken truly, he desired to be put in entire 
possession of the estates of the Count and to receive 
all the rents, but he did not speak of his future 
intentions. They were, however, satisfied, and placed 
all things at his immediate command. As soon as he 
found himself master of a large sum of money he 
armed a galley, and requested that the marriage 
should be solemnized on a particular day. 

" When night came and the ceremony was ended 
with all its splendour and honour, he called together 
the Countess, his mother-in-law, and all their rela- 
tions, and said, ' You know very well that the Count 
has chosen me from amongst many others as the 
best man, by the advice of the Sultan. Having, 


therefore, been so much honoured, I feel called upon 
to act so as to prove myself worthy of my election. 
I therefore intend leaving home immediately, and 
recommend to your charge the young lady, my wife, 
and all the estates ; for I feel confident that God 
will assist me, and all the world shall know that I 
have done my duty.' 

"Soon after this the young man departed on 
horseback, full of hope, and travelled till he arrived 
at the kingdom of Armenia, where he remained 
until he knew the language and habits of the people 
well, by which time he discovered that Saladin was 
fond of hunting ; so having the very best hawks and 
dogs possible, he went in his galley to meet Saladin. 
Putting into a secure harbour, he commanded his men 
not to leave that spot without his orders. When 
he came to where Saladin was, he was well received 
by him, but he did not kiss his hand, nor offer the 
homage which was due to him as the Sultan, yet 
Saladin ordered all his wants to be attended to. 
The young man thanked him much, declaring that 
he required nothing, and that he came only, having 
heard of his great renown in the chase, to beg that 
he might be permitted to join in his retinue, in order 
that he might enjoy the advantage of his experience 
and that of his people. Having brought with him 
many excellent birds and dogs, he besought the 
Sultan to select from them those he wished, and 
with what remained to him begged permission to 
join in the hunt, where he would render every 


service. This ofter pleased the Sultan much, and 
he made the selection as desired, but regretted that 
his guest could not be induced to receive anything 
in return. 

"After some time it pleased God that things 
should happen as this young man desired. The 
falcons chased a crane in the direction of the port 
where he had anchored his galley. The Sultan rode 
a very good horse, as did also his guest, when they 
found themselves far from the retinue, none of whom 
knew the direction they had taken. On Saladin 
arriving where the falcons had caught the crane he 
dismounted in haste and ran to assist them. His 
young companion, seeing him on the ground occu- 
pied in feeding the falcons, called his men. Now 
when the Sultan saw the people from the galley 
around him, and that the young man had drawn 
his sword upon him, he was much astonished, and 
exclaimed, ' It is a base treason.' 

"'God forbid I' said the other; 'you know I 
never did homage to you as my lord, neither have 
I accepted anything from you.' He had this reason 
for not doing so. Having said this, he took him 
and put him on board the galley, telling him that 
he was the son-in-law of the Count whom he, the 
Sultan, had chosen as the man worthy to be married 
to the Count's daughter; and since he had so chosen 
him, he felt that he would not do credit to his judg- 
ment unless he acted as he had done. The young 
man then prayed the Sultan to deliver up to him 


his father-in-law, saying, ' So shall it be known that 
the advice you have given me was indeed good and 

" When Saladin heard this, he was much pleased, 
and thanked God, being better satisfied that his 
advice had succeeded than if it had happened 
otherwise, and told the son-in-law that he would 
deliver up his father-in-law with great pleasure. 

"The young man, having confidence in the 
Sultan's word, put him on shore, and accompanied 
him, but ordering his people from the galley to 
retire so that they should not be seen by those 
who might arrive. 

"The Sultan and the son-in-law were feeding the 
falcons when the suite arrived. They found their 
master in good humour, but he told none of them 
what had happened to him. 

"As soon as they arrived at the city, the Sultan 
went down to the house where the Count was a 
prisoner, taking with him the son-in-law. When 
the Sultan saw the Count, he began by saying with 
much gaiety, 'Count, I thank God for His mercy 
in having prospered so well the advice which I gave 
as to the marriage of your daughter. Behold your 
son-in-law, who has been the means of releasing you 
from prison.' He then related all that the son-in- 
law had done ; his loyalty and the great efforts he 
had made to liberate him, as also the implicit 
confidence he had in his, the Sultan's, word. 

" Now, the Count, and all who heard this, praised 



the son-in-law very much for his judgment, valour, 
and great energy; while some praised the Sultan 
for his great goodness, and thanked God who had 
directed all things for so good an end. 

" The Sultan gave the Count and his son-in-law 
many rich presents. To the Count he gave double 
the amount of the rents which he would have 
received from his estates during the time of his 
captivity ; and thus sent him away very rich and 
much honoured to his own country. 

" Now all this good fortune befell the Count 
through the good advice which the Sultan gave 
him respecting the marriage of his daughter with 
one deserving to be called a man. 

" And you, my lord, since you have to advise one 
of your vassals respecting the marriage of one of his 
relatives, tell him that the principal thing is to 
marry her to a good man; for, if not, no matter how 
rich, honourable, or mighty he may be, she can 
never be well married. And you ought to know 
that a man by his good actions increases the 
honour, elevates the position of his family, and aug- 
ments his riches. Of this I could give you many 
examples. Men of good position, whose fathers were 
rich and much respected, but who themselves were 
not as good as they ought to be, have lost both their 
position and riches. Others, of humbler rank, by their 
great goodness have gained for themselves riches and 
honour, so as to become much more respected and 
esteemed for their conduct than for their lineage. 


"And so you will now understand that all the 
good and evil which befalls us arises from our own 
actions, let a man's rank be what it may. There- 
fore, the first thing you ought to inquire after is, 
what are the habits, the understanding, and general 
conduct of the man himself, or of the woman, who 
is about to marry ; and these being, in the first place, 
satisfactory, then, the higher the rank, the greater 
the riches, and the more honourable the position of 
the connection, the better." 

The Count was much pleased with the reasons 
which Patronio gave him, and held as true all that 
he had spoken. 

Don Juan, seeing that this example was very good, 
wrote it in this book, and made this verse, which 
says : 

The upright man, in all he does, prevails ; 
The wicked, in his plans, as surely fails. 


Calderon has made the above story the subject of a three-act 
comedy, entitled " Count Lucanor." It would seem likely, 
at first sight, that in giving this name to the bold knight 
who seized on the person of Saladin, his object was to recall, 
by an ingenious transposition, the collection to which he was 
indebted for the idea of the piece. But, as he concludes his 
drama by asking pardon for a history drawn from the books 
of chivalry, there seems to be some force in the opinion main- 
tained by Ticknor, that Count Lucanor was a name borrowed 
from one of those old books of knight-errantry, and adopted by 
Don Manuel to avoid the possibility of his being supposed, in the 
name of his hero, to indicate any veritable living contemporary of 


his. Indeed had Calderon been acquainted with Don Manuel's 
story, he could hardly have departed so widely as he has done 
from its moral application. In his comedy, no train of thought or 
moral lesson is enforced : his sole object appears to have been 
to complicate with romantic incidents one of those adventures 
which the heroes of chivalry prided themselves in bringing to 
a happy termination. 

The Sultan Saladin plays an important part in the tales and 
Fabliaux of the middle ages. Don Juan Manuel has himself 
introduced him more than once in this book. He was the 
Alexander of the Crusades this Salehaddin, who, after having 
been in the service of the Sultans of Egypt, usurped their throne, 
became a famous conqueror, and, by the resplendent lustre of his 
virtues and magnanimity, palliated the cruelties indispensable to 
his victories, and obtained the title of Great a title more gloriously 
consecrated by the Gerusalemme of Tasso than by all the panegyrics 
of historians. 


Of that which happened to a King and three 

OUNT LUCANOR, conversing at an- 
other time with Patronio, his adviser, 
said : 

" Patronio, a man came to me and 
told me something, giving me to understand it would 
be of great advantage to me if I followed his sugges- 
tions ; but he said no man must be informed of the 
secret, that I must trust in him, and, more than this, 


affirmed that if I should confide it to any man in the 
world I should place not only my property but my 
life in danger. And as I know no man able to detect 
a fraud so quickly as yourself I pray you give me 
your opinion in this case." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " in order that you 
may know how to act under these circumstances, it 
would please me to be permitted to inform you 
what happened to a King and three impostors." 

The Count requested to know what that was. 

"My lord," said Patronio, "three impostors 
came to a King, and told him they were cloth- 
weavers, and could fabricate a cloth of so pecu- 
liar a nature that a legitimate son of his father coutd 
see the cloth ; but if he were illegitimate, though 
believed to be legitimate, he could not see it. 

" Now the King was much pleased at this, 
thinking that by this means he would be able to 
distinguish the men in his kingdom who were legi- 
timate sons of their supposed fathers from those 
who were not, and so be enabled to increase his 
treasures, for among the Moors only legitimate 
children inherit their father's property ; and for 
this end he ordered a palace to be appropriated to 
the manufacture of this cloth. And these men, in 
order to convince him that they had no intention 
of deceiving him, agreed to be shut up in this palace 
until the cloth was manufactured, which satisfied 
the King. 

" When they were supplied with a large quantity 


of gold, silver, silk, and many other things, they 
entered the palace, and, putting their looms in 
order, gave it to be understood that they were 
working all day at the cloth. 

" After some days, one of them came to the King 
and told him the cloth was commenced, that it was 
the most curious thing in the world, describing the 
design and construction ; he then prayed the King 
to favour them with a visit, but begged he would 
come alone. The King was much pleased, but 
wishing to have the opinion of some one first, sent 
the Lord Chamberlain to see it, in order to know if 
they were deceiving him. When the Lord Cham- 
berlain saw the workmen, and heard all they had to 
say, he dared not admit he could not see the cloth, 
and when he returned to the King he stated that he 
had seen it ; the King sent yet another, who gave 
the same report. When they whom he had sent 
declared that they had seen the cloth he determined 
to go himself. 

" On entering the palace and seeing the men at 
work, who began to describe the texture and relate 
the origin of the invention as also the design and 
colour, in which they all appeared to agree, although 
in reality they were not working; when the King 
saw how they appeared to work, and heard the 
character of the cloth so minutely described, and 
yet could not see it, although those he had sent had 
seen it, he began to feel very uneasy, fearing he 
might not be the son of the King, who was sup- 


posed to be his father, and that if he acknowledged 
he could not see the cloth he might lose his king- 
dom ; under this impression he commenced praising 
the fabric, describing its peculiarities after the 
manner of the workmen. 

" On the return to his palace he related to his 
people how good and marvellous was the cloth, yet 
at the same time suspected something wrong. 

" At the end of two or three days the King 
requested his ' Alguacil ' (or officer of justice) to go 
and see the cloth. When the Alguacil entered and 
saw the workmen, who, as before, described the 
figures and pattern of the cloth, knowing that the 
King had been to see it, and yet could not see it 
himself, he thought he certainly could not be the 
legitimate son of his father, and therefore could not 
see it. He, however, feared if he was to declare that 
he could not see it he would lose his honourable 
position ; to avoid this mischance he commenced prais- 
ing the cloth even more vehemently than the others. 

"When the Alguacil returned to the King and 
told him that he had seen the cloth, and that it was 
the most extraordinary production in the world, the 
King was much disconcerted ; for he thought that 
if the Alguacil had seen the cloth, which he was 
unable to see, there could no longer be a doubt that 
he was not the legitimate son of the King, as was 
generally supposed, he therefore did not hesitate to 
praise the excellency of the cloth and the skill of the 
workmen who were able to make it. 


" On another day he sent one of his Councillors, 
and it happened to him as to the King and the 
others of whom I have spoken ; and in this manner 
and for this reason they deceived the King and 
many others, for no one dared to say he could not 
see the cloth. 

"Things went on thus until there came a great 
feast, when all requested the King to be dressed in 
some of the cloth ; so the workmen, being ordered, 
brought some rolled up in a very fine linen and in- 
quired of the King how much of it he wished them 
to cut off; so the King gave orders how much and 
how to make it up. 

" Now when the clothes were made and the feast 
day had arrived the weavers brought them to the 
King, informing his Majesty that his dress was made 
of the cloth as he had directed, the King all this 
time not daring to say he could not see it. 

"When the King had professed to dress himself 
in this suit he mounted on horseback and rode into 
the city; but fortunately for him it was summer 
time. The people seeing his Majesty come in this 
manner were much surprised ; but knowing that 
those who could not see this cloth would be con- 
sidered illegitimate sons of their fathers, kept their 
surprise to themselves, fearing the dishonour conse- 
quent upon such a declaration. Not so, however, 
with a negro, who happened to notice the King 
thus equipped ; for he, having nothing to lose, came 
to him and said, ' Sire, to me it matters not whose 


son I am, therefore I tell you that you are riding 
without any clothes.' On this the King commenced 
beating him, saying that he was not the legitimate 
son of his supposed father, and therefore it was that 
he could not see the cloth. But no sooner had the 
negro said this, than others were convinced of its 
truth, and said the same ; until, at last, the King and 
all with him lost their fear of declaring the truth, 
and saw through the trick of which these impostors 
had made them the victims. When the weavers 
were sought for they were found to have fled, taking 
with them all they had received from the King by 
their imposition. 

"Now you, Count Lucanor, since that man of 
whom you speak forbids your trusting to any one, 
and demands your entire confidence, be careful you 
are not deceived ; for, you ought to know very well 
that he can have no reason for seeking your advan- 
tage more than his own ; nor has he more reason to 
serve you than have those who are indebted to you 
and are already in your service." 

Count Lucanor found this to be good advice, so 
adopted it. 

And Don Juan, also seeing that it was a good 
example, wrote it in this book and made these lines, 
which say as follows : 

Who counsels thee to secrecy with friends 
Seeks to entrap thee for his own base ends. 



This story, so quaintly and graphically written, stands alone 
in the interest of its details, neither the Short Mantle, which 
figures under the title of the " Manteau mal tailld," in the Fabliaux 
of the thirteenth century, nor the "Enchanted Bowl" of Ariosto, 
nor indeed any of the romance writers of that age contain any 
subject wherein the various passions and interests which move 
mankind are so well delineated. 

The false promises made by the impostors, arising out of want 
and desperation, recall to mind the old Spanish proverb, " Cuando 
el Corsario promete misas y cera, con mal anda la galera ; (The 
galley is in a bad way when the Corsair promises masses and 


What happened to a King with a man who called 
himself an Alchymist. 

JNE day Count Lucanor conversed with 
Patronio in the following manner : 

" Patronio, a man came and told me 
he possessed a secret which would enable 
me to acquire great riches and honour, but that to 
begin the work certain sums of money would be 
required; and this being furnished, he promised to 
return me tenfold on my outlay. Now, since God 
has blessed you with a good understanding, tell me 
what you think most desirable to be done under 
such circumstances." 


"My lord," said Patronio, "in order that you 
may know how to act, having regard for your own 
interest, under such circumstances, I should like to 
inform you what happened to a king with a man 
who called himself an alchymist." 

The Count desired him to relate it. 

"There was once," said he, "a man who being a 
great adventurer desired by some means or other to 
enrich himself and rise out of the miserable situation 
in which he then was. Knowing of a certain King 
who taxed his people heavily, and was very anxious 
to acquire a knowledge of alchymy, he procured a 
hundred doublas * 'and filed them down, mixing the 
gold dust so procured with other metals, and frcm 
this alloy he made a hundred false coins, each 
weighing as much as a doubla. He then took a 
supply of these spurious coins, dressed himself as a 
quiet and respectable man, and went to the city 
where the King dwelt, and, entering the shop of a 
grocer, sold to him the whole of his counterfeits for 
about two or three doublas. The purchaser inquired 
the name and use of these coins, to which he replied, 
' They are essential to the practice of alchymy, and 
are called tabardit! 

" Now, our adventurer continued to reside in this 
city for some time as a respectable and well-dressed 
man, and it became circulated as a secret that he 
knew the science of alchymy. When this news 

* An ancient Spanish gold coin. 


reached the King, he sent for him and asked if he 
were an alchymist. 

" He, however, appeared as if anxious to conceal 
his knowledge, and replied that he was not, but 
ultimately admitted that he was, at the same time 
telling the King that no man but himself knew the 
secret, and that no great outlay was required ; but 
that, if his Majesty desired it, he could furnish him 
with a little of the ingredients, and then show him 
all he knew of the science. This pleased the King 
very much, as it appeared, according to the alchymist's 
representation, that he would incur no risk. Our 
adventurer now sends, in the King's name, for the 
things required, among them being the tabardit, 
which were easily procured at a cost of not more 
than three dineros,* and when they were brought 
and melted down before the King there was pro- 
duced the weight of a doubla of fine gold. The 
King, seeing that these materials which cost so little 
produced a doubla, was delighted, and told the 
alchymist that he considered him to be a most 
worthy man, giving him an order to make more. 

"Our adventurer replied, as if he had no more 
information to give, 'Sire, all that I know I have 
shown to you, and henceforth you will be able to do 
it as well as myself. Nevertheless, should any of 
the ingredients be wanting, it will be quite impossible 
to produce gold.' Saying this, he departed for his 
own house. 

* An ancient Spanish copper coin. 


"The King now procured some of the materials 
himself, and made gold ; he then doubled the quan- 
tity and produced the weight of two doublas ; again 
doubling this quantity, he produced four doublas of 
gold ; and so, in proportion, as he increased the 
weight of the ingredients, he produced an increase 
of gold. When the King saw that he could make 
any quantity of gold he desired, he ordered as much 
of the material to be brought him as would pro- 
duce a thousand doublas. So the quantity was 
brought him as he desired, with the exception of 
the tabardit which could not be got. The King, 
seeing that the tabardit was wanting, and that with- 
out it he could not make gold, sent for the alchymist 
and told him he was unable to make gold as he had 
been accustomed to do. 

" On this the alchymist begged to know if he had 
all the ingredients the same as hitherto. 

" The King replied, 'Yes, all except the tabardit: 

" ' Then,' said the alchymist, ' although you have 
all the other things, yet, failing this one, you cannot, 
as I told you at first, expect to make gold.' 

The King then asked if he knew where to pro- 
cure the tabardit, and he was answered in the 
affirmative ; the King then requested that he should 
procure for him a sufficient quantity to make as much 
gold as he might desire. 

" The alchymist now replied that any other per- 
son could obtain it as well as himself, and, perhaps, 
better; but, if the King particularly wished it, he 


would return for some to his own country, where he 
could procure any amount. The King then counted 
and found that, including all expenses, it would cost 
a large sum to procure this one ingredient, but he 
furnished our adventurer with the sum required and 
sent him on this service. 

"As soon as the alchymist had received the 
money he went away in great haste, never to return. 

"When the King found that the alchymist re- 
mained away longer than he ought, he sent his 
servants to his house to know if there had been any 
tidings of him, but they found none whatever; but 
at his house was left a small chest which was locked ; 
this they opened, and in it they found a paper on 
which was written, 'I know well there is no such 
thing in the world as tabardtl, but be assured that 
your Majesty has been deceived. When I came to 
you and said that I could enrich you, you ought 
to have said to me, " First enrich thyself, and then 
I will believe thee." ' 

" Some days after this, some men were laughing 
and amusing themselves by writing the names and 
characters of their friends and acquaintances, saying, 
such and such were intelligent, such and such were 
foolish, and of others in like manner, good and bad. 
Amongst those classed as imprudent was found the 
name of the King. When the King heard of it, he 
sent for the authors of this writing, and, having 
assured them that no harm should come to them, 
demanded why they had placed his name amongst 


those of imprudent men. They then answered him, 
' Because you have entrusted so much treasure to a 
stranger of whom you had not the least knowledge.' 

"The King replied that they were mistaken, for 
should the man return he would bring with him 
much gold. 

"'Then/ said they, 'our opinion would lose 
nothing ; for, should he return, we will erase your 
name and insert his.' 

" And you, Count Lucanor, if you do not wish to 
be considered a man of weak understanding, must 
not risk so much of your property for a thing that 
is uncertain ; otherwise, you may have to repent 
sacrificing the certain for the uncertain." 

This advice pleased the Count much, so he acted 
upon it, and found the result good. 

And Don Juan, seeing this to be a good example, 
ordered it to be written in this book, with these 
following lines : 

To venture much of thy wealth refuse 

On the faith of a man who has nought to lose; 


This tale, so full of point and humour, is, as we see in the paper 
found in the alchymist's trunk, not without its bearing on the 
caution required in daily life, to avoid impositions ; as, also, the 
dangers to which cupidity exposes men who grasp at every de- 
lusive project to gratify their passion for gain. 

It may be, also, that Don Manuel desired in this narrative 
to ridicule tha follies of alchymy, to which his learned uncle, 
Alfonso X, was much addicted, and the belief in which was so 
universal in the middle ages. 

6 4 


Of that which happened to two Cavaliers who were in 
the service of the Infant Prince Henry. 

OUNT LUCANOR, conversing one day 
with his friend Patronio, addressed him 
in the following manner : 

" Patronio, for a long time I have 
had an enemy who has done me much injury ; nor 
can I say that I have not done the same to him 
in fact, we live in a state of constant warfare with 
each other. And now it happens that another man, 
much more powerful than either of us, is about to 
commence a war against him and me ; and this man 
is in a position to do us both a serious injury. Seeing 
this to be the case, my old enemy comes to me to say 
that we should lose no time in defending ourselves 
against this our common foe ; for that, if both unite 
against him, it is certain that we shall be safe : but, if 
one keeps apart from the other, it is equally certain 
that whichever of us he might first select would 
easily be conquered by him ; and, that one being 
vanquished, he who remained would become an easy 
victim. So, you see, Patronio, that I am in great 
perplexity as to how I shall act. On both sides I 
have much to fear ; my former enemy is not wanting in 
will to injure me, and, should he at any time find me 

THE Vicious HORSES. 65 

in his power, I am not sure of my life. Whatever 
arrangement we may make, I shall feel no confidence 
in him, or he in me ; and these considerations keep 
me in perpetual anxiety. On the other hand, as you 
you will perceive, if we are not friends, as he wishes, 
we shall both be seriously injured. Now, as I have 
great confidence in your abilities, I pray you to 
advise me how to act under such circumstances." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " your position is 
jery critical and not without danger. In order 
that you may better understand how to act, it is 
desirable that you should know what happened at 
Tunis to two cavaliers who lived with the Infant 
Prince Henry." 

The Count desired to be informed, and Patronio 
proceeded : 

" Two cavaliers who were in the service of the 
Infant, at Tunis, were such excellent friends that 
they resided together in the same house. Each had 
his own horse ; and, in proportion as these friends 
loved each other, so did their horses appear to 
detest each other. Now, these cavaliers were not 
rich, and consequently, were unable to maintain 
separate establishments ; but, owing to the vicious- 
ness of their horses, they found it impossible to 
reside any longer together, so very reluctantly 
separated. Things had gone on in this way for 
some time, when, finding nothing could be done to 
remedy the evil, they spoke to the Infant concerning 
it, and begged he would give their horses to a lion 



which was kept by the King of Tunis. The Infant 
complied with their request, and spoke to the King, 
telling him how the cavaliers were annoyed by the 
viciousness of their horses, and asking the King's 
permission to have these horses turned into the 
lion's court. 

" When the two vicious horses found themselves 
loose in the lion's court, but before the lion had 
sallied forth from his den, they commenced kicking 
and biting more violently than ever. While they 
were so fighting, the door of the lion's den, leading 
into the court, was thrown open. 

" As soon as the two horses saw the lion leave his 
den for the court they began to tremble violently, 
and by degrees approached each other till they were 
so close together as to appear almost one. They 
then conjointly attacked the lion, kicking and biting 
him so furiously that he was compelled to retreat 
into the den from whence he came. 

" From this time the two horses continued good 
friends. They ate together from the same crib, and 
lived together in a very small stable. 

"Thus, you see, my lord, from the great and 
common terror these two vicious horses had of the 
lion arose a lasting friendship. And you, Count 
Lucanor, if you believe that your old enemy fears so 
much his and your common enemy, and requires 
your assistance so urgently as to induce him to forget 
the feuds which have hitherto existed between you, 
knowing that he cannoi defend himself without your 


assistance, then I hold that, like the two horses, it 
will be advisable that you approach each other by 
degrees until you have so united your forces as to 
lose all fear and distrust of each other. But, mark 
you ! until you acquire this necessary confidence in 
your ally, you must proceed with a certain amount 
of caution. If you find him acting at all times with 
good faith and loyalty, and know for certain that he 
has no intention to revenge himself on you, or do 
any injury to you, then it will be better that you 
unite with him in earnest, in order that the stranger 
may not conquer or destroy you ; for it is even better 
to suffer the ills you now complain of than those ot 
your new enemy, the extent of which you cannot fore- 
see; but, should anything occur to give you reason 
for doubting the sincerity of your ally, then it would 
be wrong to assist him, for he might lead you into 
great peril to secure his own safety. It remains, 
therefore, that you be vigilant, whilst preparing to 
guard against the combined danger threatened you 
by a new adversary and your former enemy." 

" Count Lucanor was much pleased with what 
Patronio had related, and found that he had given 
him very good advice. Also Don Juan thought this 
a very good example, so he commanded it to be 
written in this book, and wrote these lines, which 
say thus : 

When danger threatens, enemies unite, 
And join, as friends, to carry on the fight. 



The Infant Prince Henry mentioned in this chapter was the 
son of Ferdinand III. (called the Saint), and his queen, Beatrice. 
Being persecuted by his brother, Alfonso X, after many 
dangers, sought refuge in Tunis, about the year 1259. The 
Bey, knowing his rank, and admiring his courage, gave him, 
after a time, the entire command of his army ; a position he 
held for a period of four years, during which time he became 
renowned for many acts of valour, so that many Castilians 
sought for appointments in the army under his command, and 
fought with him under the flag of Tunis. Of these were the 
two cavaliers spoken of in this narrative. The Moors of the 
court, becoming jealous of the position held by the prince, 
conspired to impress the Bey with the notion that there 
existed a plot to murder him and place the Infant on the throne. 
Hearing this, the king became alarmed, and, judging any means 
of escape justifiable, made an appointment with the Infant for 
a secret conference, which, being punctually kept by the un- 
suspecting prince, he found himself face to face with the lions 
of the Bey. The prince, seeing the peril of his position, drew 
his sword and awaited the attack. Happily, however, the 
animals remained immovable and allowed him to retire uninjured. 
The Bey, frustrated in his design, and ashamed of his intentions, 
ordered the Infant to immediately leave his territories, together 
with all the Christians : which was done, resistance being 
impossible. After an adventurous life, this hero returned to 
Spain on the death of his nephew, Sancho the Brave, and he 
there forced the people to name him tutor to Ferdinand IV, 
and died in 1304. This history is interesting in so far that it 
leads us to the source from whence Don Manuel has doubtless 
derived the relation given in his narrative. The Infant Henry, 
to whom this affair in Tunis happened, being his uncle, it may 
be that the circumstance as related did actually occur to the two 
cavaliers of his retinue. 


Concerning what happened to a SencschaL of 

NOTHER time, when Count Lucanor 
was conversing with Patronio, he 
spoke to him in the following man- 
ner : 

" Patronio, as I know that death is unavoidable, 
I would now, while I have yet time, found some 
work of charity which may hereafter be applied for 
the benefit of my soul, and of which good act all 
the world may be cognizant. I pray you, therefore, 
to advise me how best to accomplish this end. ' 

" My lord," said Patronio, " whatever you do, 
whatever may be your object, or whatever your in- 
tentions, act always with honour and justice. But, 
as you desire to know how a man should act so as to 
benefit his soul and increase his reputation, I should 
be much pleased by being permitted to relate to you 
what happened to a Seneschal of Carcasona." 

The Count desired to be informed what that 

" My lord, a Seneschal of Carcasona being 
seriously ill, and informed that he was not likely to 
recover, sent for the Prior of the Dominican Friars 


and the Guardian of the Franciscan Order, and 
informed them what he wished they should do for 
the salvation of his soul, and desired that if he died 
they would see fulfilled all the dispositions of his 
will. They, on their part, willingly agreed, for he 
left much for alms, prayers, and masses. Now, when 
all his charitable dispositions had been complied 
with, the friars were well satisfied, and hoped trust- 
ingly for the eternal salvation of his soul. 

"It happened some short time after this that there 
was a woman in the town said to be possessed of 
the Devil, and who spoke most extraordinary things. 
The friars, hearing this, thought it advisable to go 
to her and inquire if she knew anything respecting 
the soul of the Seneschal, and they did so. 

"As soon as they entered the house where the 
possessed woman lived, and before they could put 
any questions to her, she cried out, that she well 
knew why they were come, and that the soul of the 
Seneschal was in hell, where she had left it a short 
time ago. 

"When the friars heard this, they told her she 
lied, for they were certain that the Seneschal had 
humbly confessed and devoutly received the sacra- 
ments of the holy Mother Church ; and that, since 
the Christian faith was infallible, it was not possible 
that what she said could be true. 

" She replied, that, without doubt, the faith and 
law of Christians are very true, but that he had not 
acted as a sincere Christian before his death ; thatj 


however much he might have given, hoping thus to 
secure the salvation of his soul, still it was not given 
with a good grace for he had commanded that the 
charitable dispositions of his will should only be 
executed in case he died, when he could no longer 
retain possession of his riches nor carry them with 
him to the grave. Had he recovered, he never 
intended fulfilling any part of these charitable inten- 
tions. Moreover, he regarded only the opinion of 
those around him and of the world, hoping thus to 
obtain fame and honour by his charitable donations. 
Therefore, although he did a good act, it was not 
well done, since man must be judged by his in- 
tentions ; and the intentions of the Seneschal were 
not good, although they may have appeared so; 
therefore he has received his reward. 

"And you, Count Lucanor, since you desire my 
counsel, I give you that which appears to me most 
valuable. It is, if you wish to do good, to do it 
while you have life, if you hope for a reward here- 
after. The first thing required of you is to repair 
the wrongs you may have done, for little will it 
avail you to steal the sheep and offer the feet to 
God. So, likewise, you will benefit little by holding 
the fruit of robbery and spoliation, although you 
may give alms out of your ill-gotten gains. In order 
that your alms may be worthy of acceptance, it is 
necessary that they partake of the following con- 
ditions : firstly, that the gift be a part of your own 
rightful property, given under the influence of a true 


and contrite spirit, not from the superfluities, but 
from that which the giver is in need of himself 
Again, the donation should be made during life ; 
and, lastly, it should be done simply for the love of 
God, and not through vain-glory or worldly feeling. 
The fulfilling these conditions constitutes righteous 
almsgiving, for which a man may expect to be well 
rewarded. Nevertheless, neither you nor any one 
else should fail to do good, although they may not 
be able to fulfil all the above conditions ; that would 
be very weak and unwise, for certain it is that a 
good action always claims its reward. Meritorious 
works draw men from sin, induce to repentance, and 
to the well-being of the soul, tending even to fame 
and worldly advantages. All good actions tend to 
good ; nevertheless, they will be more available for 
salvation and more profitable to his soul if a man 
act under the influence of the conditions above 

And Count Lucanor, considering what Patronio 
said was true, resolved to follow his advice, and 
prayed to God for grace to enable him to do so. 

And Don Juan, finding that this was a very good 
example, caused it to be written in this book, and 
made these lines, which say : 

In aim, as well as deed, be pure, 
If you would make your glory sure. 



The lesson taught in this tale was a severe one for the superior 
clergy, who were at this period not noted for their humility or 
abnegation ; as it was also a reflection upon the tenacity of some 
men, not only to life, but to life's treasures, by the illustration of 
an attempt to cheat Providence into the salvation of his soul, by 
giving what the dying man could no longer retain. It reminds us 
of the Spanish anecdote, where a dying bequest records that " if 
the missing cow was found it should be for the children ; if not, 
it should be for God." The same nation has also a saying refer- 
ring to the Abbot of Bamba, on spurious benevolence. " El Abad 
de Bamba lo que nopoede comer lo da por su Alma." "The Abbot 
of Bamba gives away for the good of his soul that which he cannot 

In his fable of The Sick Man and the Angel, Gay has powerfully 
illustrated the moral conveyed by Don Manuel in this history 
the futility of the hope that heaven may be purchased by a 
posthumous legacy fon pious uses of the wealth that has been 
hoarded during life for selfish purposes. 


Of that which happened to a Moor who had a Sister 
pretending to be alarmed at any ordinary occurrence. 

NOTHER day, Count Lucanor, convers- 
ing with his friend Patronio, said, 
" Patronio, you know that I have an 
elder brother. We are sons of the 
same parents, and, because of his seniority, I look 


on him as if he were my father; and, as such, he 
expects me to obey him. He passes for a good 
Christian and has credit for being prudent, but it 
has pleased God that I should be richer and more 
powerful than he is ; and, although he is careful to 
disguise the feeling, yet I am certain he is jealous 
of me. Whenever I need his assistance, or require 
anything from him, he gives me to understand that 
he cannot help me, because it would be sinful, and 
always breaks off the affair by excusing himself in 
this manner ; while at other times, when he requires 
my assistance, he tells me it is incumbent on me to 
serve him, although, in doing so, I might lose every- 
thing in this world ; in fact, he says I ought not to 
hesitate in' risking even my life in his service and 
all this to oblige him only. Under such circum- 
stances, I pray you to advise me how to act, and 
what is my real duty." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " it appears to me that 
your brother's actions, to say the least of them, are 
selfish, and much resemble those of the sister of a 
certain Moor, which I would relate to you." 

The Count desired him to do so. 

" My lord, a Moor had an over-indulged sister, 
who prided herself in appearing timid ; and to such 
an extent did she carry this whim that she feigned 
alarm at the most ordinary occurrence, even when 
she drank water out of one of the narrow-necked 
earthen jars (such as were then generally used), and 
heard the water gurgling as it flowed, she pretended 


to be very much afraid of it. The Moor, being 
informed of this, was much annoyed. Now the 
brother was a fine young man, but very poor, and 
was compelled by necessity to follow a most dis- 
graceful way of obtaining a living. Poverty often 
compels a man to do that of which he would 
otherwise feel ashamed, and such was the case with 
the Moor, who did thus : when he heard of any rich 
person being buried, he would go by night to the 
tomb, disinter the body, and strip it of its shroud 
and all else of value ; and, by the sale of these 
articles, he maintained himself and his sister, she, 
all the time, knowing that her brother supported her 
by the proceeds of this sacrilege. 

"Now it happened about this time that a rich 
man died, and was interred in very valuable clothes 
and other costly things. When the sister knew of 
this, she told her brother that she would assist him 
that night in taking away the valuables from the rich 
man's tomb. 

" When night came, the young man and his sister 
repaired to the tomb containing the corpse, and 
opened it ; and, when they had helped themselves to 
all that was worth taking, they found that the clothes 
could not be removed without tearing unless they 
broke the neck of the corpse. The sister, seeing that 
this would deprive them of much of their value, 
took the head in her hands, and, without evincing 
any feeling or pity, broke the neck and drew away the 
clothes. They then, with their booty, returned home. 


" Some little time after this, when they were sitting 
at table, the sister drank out of the water-jar, and 
again hearing the gurgling sound feigned alarm and 
declared that she should faint. Upon this the brother, 
remembering that without fear she had broken the 
neck of the dead man, said, in Arabic, ' A ha ya ! 
haft, tassa niboa valo tassa ni fortuheni; ' that is to 
say, ' Ha, ha 1 sister, you fear then the sound of the 
water-jar, which says, "batu, batu," but were not 
afraid to break the neck of a dead man.' And this 
saying is even till this day a proverb amongst the 

"And I should say, my lord, that your elder 
brother, if he excuses himself in the selfish, unjust, 
manner you have described, resembles, in a great 
measure, the sister of the Moor. 

" Now, for the future, should your brother demand 
your assistance, in return giving you only fine words 
and excuses, do not retaliate, but, more than this, do 
all that he requires of you, taking care that you do 
not fall into sin, nor act against your conscience or 
interest by so doing." 

The Count considered this advice to be good, and, 
acting accordingly, found it to answer well. 

And Don Juan, being of opinion that this was a 
good example, caused it to be written in this book, 
and made these lines, which say as follows : 

He who declines to help thee in thy need, 
For aid himself in vain one day may plead. 



This is not one of the anther's happiest productions, in so far, 
however, only, that the narrative does not illustrate (as it evidently 
was intended to do) the moral it purports to convey. Legrand 
D'Aussy has given a very free imitation of this tale under the title 
of " The young Lady who could never hear a certain exclamation 
without fainting," "De la Demoiselle qui ne pcuvait, sans se 
pamer, entendre un certain juremenL" We find another version 
of it in the Collection of Berbazan. 


Of that which happened to a Dean of Santiago, 
with Don Man, the Magician, who lived at 

.NE day Count Lucanor was conversing 
with Patronio, whose advice he sought 
under the following circumstances. 
"Patronio," said he, "a man came 
to me and begged I would assist him, knowing I 
was able to do so, promising to serve me in return, 
at any time, either for the promotion of my interest 
or honour. I rendered him all the assistance in my 
power, when, before his trouble was removed 
(although he believed it to be so), a circumstance 
happened in which I knew he could render me 


assistance, which I begged him to do ; but he made 
me some excuse. Since then another case has arisen 
where he could have been of service to me, but 
again, as before, he has excused himself, and in every 
instance when I have needed his help he has always 
declined assisting me under some plea or other. Now 
his difficulties are not yet removed, nor can they be 
without my assistance. I, therefore, pray you, having 
so much confidence in your judgment, to advise me 
how to act under such circumstances." 

" Count Lucanor," said Patronio, " in order that 
you may know how to act in such a case, it is 
desirable that you should hear what happened to 
a Dean of Santiago, with Don Illan, who was a 
great magician, and dwelt in Toledo." 

The Count begged he would narrate it. 

" My lord," said Patronio, " there was a Dean of 
Santiago who had a great desire to be initiated in 
the art of necromancy; and, hearing that Don 
Illan of Toledo knew more of this art than any 
other person in that country, came to Toledo with a 
view of studying under him. On the day of his 
arrival he proceeded to the house of Don Illan, 
whom he found reading in a retired chamber, and 
who received him very graciously, desiring him not 
to inform him of the motive of his visit until he 
had first partaken of his repast, which was found 
excellent, and consisted of every delicacy that could 
be desired. 

" Now, when the repast was concluded, the dean 


took the magician aside and told him the motive 
of his visit, urging him very earnestly to instruct 
him in the art in which he was so great an adept, 
and which he, the dean, desired so anxiously to be 
made acquainted with. 

" When Don Ulan told him that he was a dean 
and, consequently, a man of great influence, and 
that he would attain a high position, saying, at the 
same time, that men, generally speaking, when 
they reach an elevated position and attain the 
objects of their ambition, forget easily what others 
have previously done for them, as also all past obli- 
gations and those from whom they received them 
failing generally in the performance of their former 
promises, the dean assured him such should not 
be the case with him ; saying, no matter to what 
eminence he might attain, he would not fail to do 
everything in his power to help his former friends, 
and the magician in particular. 

" In this way they conversed until supper-time 
approached; and now, the covenant between them 
being completed, Don Ulan said to the dean, that, in 
teaching him the art he desired to learn, it would be 
necessary for them to retire to some distant apart- 
ment, and, taking him by the hand, led him to a 
chamber. As they were quitting the dining-room, 
he called his housekeeper, desiring her to procure 
some partridges for their supper that night, but not 
to cook them until she had his special commands. 
Having said this, he sought the dean and conducted 


him to the entrance of a beautifully carved stone 
staircase, by which they descended a considerable 
distance, appearing as if they had passed under the 
river Tagus, and, arriving at the bottom of the steps, 
they found a suite of rooms and a very elegant 
chamber, where were arranged the books and instru- 
ments of study ; and, having here seated themselves, 
they were debating which should be the first books 
to read, when two men entered by the door and 
gave the dean a letter which had been sent to him 
by his uncle the archbishop, informing him that he 
was dangerously ill, and that if he wished to see him 
alive it would be requisite for him to come imme- 
diately. The dean was much moved by this news 
partly on account of the illness of his uncle, but 
more through the fear of being obliged to abandon 
his favourite study, just commenced so he wrote 
a respectful letter to his uncle the archbishop, which 
he sent by the same messengers. At the end of four 
days, other men arrived on foot bringing fresh letters 
to the dean, informing him that the archbishop was 
dead, and that all those interested in the welfare of 
the Church were desirous that he should succeed to 
his late uncle's dignity, telling him, at the same time, 
it was quite unnecessary for him to inconvenience 
himself by returning immediately, as his nomination 
would be better secured were he not present in the 
church. At the end of seven or eight days, two 
squires arrived, very richly dressed and accoutred, 
who, after kissing his hand, delivered to him the 


letters informing him that he had been appointed 

"When Don Ulan heard this he told him he was 
much pleased that this good news had arrived during 
his stay in his house ; and, as God had been so gra- 
cious to him, begged that the deanery now vacant 
might be given to his son. 

" The archbishop elect replied, that he hoped 
Don Ulan would allow him to name to the 
vacancy his own brother, saying, at the same time, 
that he would present him with some office in his 
own church with which his son would be contented, 
inviting, at the same time, both father and son to 
accompany him to Santiago. 

" To this they consented ; and all three departed 
for the city, where they were received with much 
honour. After they had resided there some time, 
there arrived one day messengers from the Pope 
bearing letters naming the former dean Bishop of 
Tolosa, permitting him at the same time to name 
whom he pleased to succeed him in his vacant see. 

" When Don Ulan heard this he reminded him of 
his promise, urging him to confer the appointment 
on his son. But the archbishop again desired that 
he would allow him to name one of his paternal 
uncles to succeed him. Don Ulan replied, that, al- 
though he felt he was unjustly treated, still, relying 
on the future accomplishment of his promise, he 
should let it be. The archbishop thanked him 
again renewed his promise of future services and, 



inviting Don Ulan and his son to accompany him, 
they all set out for Tolosa, where they were well re- 
ceived by the counts and great men of the country. 

"They had resided there about two years when 
messengers again came from the Pope with letters in 
which he announced to the archbishop that he had 
named him cardinal, allowing him, as before, to name 
his successor. 

"On this occasion Don Ulan went to him, and 
again urging that many vacancies had taken place, 
to none of which he had named his son, so that 
now he could plead no excuse, and he hoped the 
cardinal would confer this last dignity on his son. 
But once more the cardinal requested Don Ulan 
would forgive his having bestowed the vacant see on 
one of his maternal uncles ; saying he was a very 
good old man, and proposing th'ey should now de- 
part for Rome, where undoubtedly he would do for 
them all they could desire. Don Ulan complained 
very much ; nevertheless, he consented to accompany 
the cardinal to Rome. On their arrival they were 
very well received by the other cardinals and the 
entire court, and they lived there a long time. Don 
Ulan daily importuned the cardinal to confer some 
appointment on his son, but he always found some 
excuse for not doing so. 

"While they were yet at Rome, the pope died, 
and all the cardinals assembled in conclave elected 
our cardinal pope. 

" Then Don Ulan came to him, saying, ' You have 


now no excuse to offer for not fulfilling the pro- 
mises you' have hitherto made me.' 

" But the new pope told him not to importune 
him so much, as there was still time to think of him 
and his son. 

" Don Ulan now began to complain in earnest. 
' You have/ said he, ' made me very many pro- 
mises, not one of which you have performed.' He 
then recalled to his mind how earnestly he had 
pledged his word at their first interview to do all he 
could to help him, and never as yet had he done 
anything. 'I have no longer any faith in your 
words/ said Don Ulan, 'nor do I now expect any- 
thing from you.' 

" These expressions very much angered the pope, 
who replied, tartly, ' If I am again annoyed in this 
manner I will have you thrown into prison as a 
heretic and a sorcerer, for I know well that in 
Toledo, where you lived, you had no other means 
of support but by practising the art of necromancy.' 

"When Don Ulan saw how ill the pope had re- 
quited him for what he had done, he prepared to 
depart, the pope refusing to grant him wherewith 
to support himself on the road. ' Then/ said he to 
the pope, ' since I have nothing to eat, I must needs 
fall back upon the partridges I ordered for to-night's 
supper.' He then called out to his housekeeper, and 
ordered her to cook the birds for his supper. 

" No sooner had he spoken, than the dean found 
himself again in Toledo, still dean of Santiago, as 


on his arrival, but so overwhelmed with shame that 
he knew not what to say. 

" ' How fortunate is it,' said Don Ulan to him, 
' that I have thus proved the intrinsic value of your 
promises in prosperity; for, as it is, I should have 
considered it a great misfortune had I allowed you 
to partake of the partridges.' 

"And you, Count Lucanor, will now see how 
you ought to act towards the man, who, desiring 
your assistance, is so ungrateful. Risk not too much 
on the chance of your services being repaid at some 
future time, or you may anticipate the reward Don 
Ulan received from the dean.' 

The Count found this to be very good advice, 
acted upon it, and was benefited. 

And Don Juan, thinking this to be a very good 
example, had it written in this book and composed 
these verses, which say as follows : 

Who pays thy kindness with ungratefulness, 
The more he has to give, he'll give the less. 


Under the title of the "Dean of Badajoz," Herder, and, 
after him, L'Abb6 Blanchet, have given another version, 
which has furnished Andrieux with the subject of one of his 
prettiest tales in verse. The editor of Blanchet's works says f 
"This is not an oriental tale, but is taken from El Conde Lu- 
canor, a highly esteemed Spanish work of the fourteenth cen- 
tury, written by the Infant Don Manuel." The Abbe 1 , how- 
ever, has so interlarded the original story with adornments of 
his own, bearing critically on the ecclesiastical condition of his 
time, that it would be difficult for Don Manuel to recognize 
his own tale in its French dress. 


What happened to King Ben Abit, of Seville, with 
Queen Romaquia his wife. 

>HE Count conversed with Patronio one 
day in the following manner: 

"There is a man," said he, "who 
has begged me frequently to assist him, 
and, whenever I have done so, he has always given 
me to understand how grateful he feels. Lately, he 
has again called upon me for aid, but I find if I do 
not do as he requires, he becomes angry, and does 
not fail to give me to understand, by his manner, 
that he has forgotten all his previous obligations. 
Now, as you are a man of good understanding, I 
beg you advise me how I should act towards this 

"Count Lucanor," said Patronio, "it appears to 
me that what has occurred to you with this man 
resembles much that which happened to the King 
Ben Abit, of Seville, with the Queen Romaquia, his 

The Count begged him to recount what that 

"My lord," said Patronio, "the King Abit, of 
Seville, was married to Romaquia, and he loved 


her better than anything in the world. She was a 
very virtuous woman, and the Moors recount many 
of her good acts. But in one thing she did not dis- 
play much wisdom ; this was, that she generally had 
some caprice or other which the king was always 
willing to gratify. 

" One day, being in Cordova during the month 
of February, there happened to be (which was very 
unusual) a very heavy fall of snow. When Roma- 
quia saw this she began to weep. The king, seeing 
her so afflicted, desired to know the cause of her 

" ' I weep/ said she, ' because I am not permitted 
to live in a country where we sometimes see snow.' 

The king, anxious to gratify her, ordered almond 
trees to be planted on all the mountains surrounding 
Cordova, for, it being a very warm climate, snow is 
seldom or never seen there. But now, once a year, 
and that in the month of February, the almond 
trees came forth in full blossom, which, from their 
whiteness, made it appear as if there had been a 
fall of snow on the mountains, and was a source of 
great delight to the queen for a time. 

" On another occasion, Romaquia being in her 
apartment, which overlooked the river, saw a woman 
without shoes or stockings kneading mud on the 
banks of the river for the purpose of making bricks. 
When Romaquia saw this she began to cry, which 
the king observing, begged to know the cause of her 


" She replied, ' It is because I am not free to do as 
I please ; I cannot do as yonder woman is doing.' 

" Then the king, in order to gratify her, ordered 
a lake at Cordova to be filled with rose-water in 
place of ordinary water; and, to produce mud, he 
had this filled with sugar, powdered cinnamon, and 
ginger, beautiful stones, amber, musk, and as many 
other fragrant spices and perfumes as could be pro- 
cured; and, in place of straws, he ordered to be 
placed ready small sugar canes. Now when this 
lake was full of such mud, as you may imagine, the 
king informed Romaquia that now she might take off 
her shoes and stockings and enjoy herself by making 
as many bricks as she pleased. 

" Another day, taking a fancy for something not 
immediately procurable, she began weeping as before. 
The king again entreated to know the cause of her 

" ' How can I refrain from tears,' said she, ' when 
you never do anything to please me ? ' 

" The king, seeing that so much had been done to 
please and gratify her caprices, and feeling now at 
his wit's end, exclaimed, in Arabic, ' Ehu alenahac 
aten,' which means, ' Not even the day of the mud. 
That is to say, that, although all the rest had been 
forgotten, she might at least have remembered the 
mud he had prepared to humour her. 

"And you, Count Lucanor, if you see, after having 
done so much for this man, that he is ungrateful, 
and forgets all previous obligations because you are 


not disposed to do more, I would now advise you to 
have nothing more to do with him, for he might act 
in a manner injurious to you. 

"But, above all things, I counsel you never to 
forget a previous obligation, although the person 
who was once your friend, and conferred it, is no 
longer disposed to do all you may require." 

And the Count thought this very good advice, 
and, acting upon it, found the results favourable. 

And Don Juan, considering it a very good 
example, caused it to be written in this book, and 
composed the following lines, which say : 

Waste not your kindness on one 

Who heeds not the good you have done. 


The act of ingenious gallantry recounted in the above chapter 
is recorded by Conde 1 , author of the " History of the Domination 
of the Arabs in Spain," as due to Abd el Rahman III, King of 
Cordova, who reigned from the year 912 to 964; and who, to 
satisfy the caprice of his queen, or, as is rather supposed, of his 
mistress Azahra (the flower), caused, as the little history of Don 
Manuel tells us, the distant mountains to be covered with almond 
trees; but which, one rather inclined to believe were 
orange, the flowers of which bear, in Arabic, the same name as 
that given to the favourite Azahra. It was for this capricious 
lady also that the king caused to be built the famous palace of 
Azahra, near Cordova. 

8 9 


Concerning what happened to a Lombardian in 

[OUNT LUCANOR held converse one 
day with his counsellor, Patronio, in the 
following manner : 

" Patronio," said the Count, " some 
men have advised me to enrich myself as much as 
possible, assuring me it will be more advantageous 
than anything else, enabling me to meet all contin- 
gencies. I pray you, therefore, to tell me what you 
think of this advice." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " it is requisite that 
great men like yourself should have some riches for 
many reasons, especially that they may not, through 
want, leave undone that which they ought to do. 
But do not understand that these riches should be 
collected for the mere pleasure of accumulation, 
while you leave unfulfilled the duties which you owe 
to your people, or the protection of your honours 
and estates. For, were you to do so, that which 
happened to a Lombardian, in Bologna, might 
happen to you." 

" How was that ? " said the Count, requesting him 
to relate the particulars. 


" My lord," said Patronio, " there lived in Bologna 
a Lombardian, who had amassed a large fortune, 
but had never concerned himself as to the means 
therein employed, keeping in view only the accumu- 
lation of his riches. The Lombardian being seized 
with a mortal illness, one of his friends, seeing 
him in great danger, advised him to confess to Saint 
Dominic, who happened to be then in Bologna ; to 
which the sick man consented. When Saint Dominic 
was sent for, he desired that a friar should attend 
the dying man in his place. The sons of the 
Lombardian, hearing that Saint Dominic had been 
sent for, were much concerned, fearing that Saint 
Dominic would influence their father to leave all 
his possessions for the salvation of his soul, and 
that nothing would remain for them. When the 
friar arrived, they told him their father was in a 
critical perspiration, and that as soon as it was over 
they would inform him of it. Soon after this, how- 
ever, the Lombardian lost the use of his speech and 
died, nothing necessary having been done for the 
salvation of his soul. 

" When the day of interment arrived, Saint Do- 
minic was requested to preach his funeral oration. 
To this the Saint consented. In his sermon, refer- 
ring to the deceased, he quoted from the Gospel as 
follows : Ubi est thesaurus tuus, ibi est cor tuum,' 
that is to say, ' Where thy treasure is, there is thine 
heart also ; ' and I aving said this he turned himself 
towards the people, and said, ' My friends, in order 


to show you that the words of the Evangelist are 
true, go and seek for the heart of this man, and I 
tell you you will not find it in his body, but you will 
find it in his money chest.' 

"They then went to search for the heart in the 
body of the Lombardian, but it was not there. It 
was found in his strong box, as Saint Dominic had 
said, full of maggots, and in a most putrid and infec- 
tious condition. 

" And you, Count Lucanor, if you desire to accu- 
mulate riches as you have been advised, be careful of 
two things the one, that the means by which they 
are obtained be honourable; the other, that you do 
not place your heart too much on the possession of 
them : never do anything which you ought not to 
do, or leave undone that which it is incumbent on 
you to perform, but let your treasure be in good 
works, in order that you may receive the grace of 
God and be worthy the esteem of your people." 

And the Count was much pleased with the advice 
which Patronio gave him, and, acting upon it, found 
it prosper. 

And Don Juan, holding that it was a very good 
example, ordered it to be put in this book, and made 
these lines, which say as follows : 

The true treasure gain, 
And the false disdain. 



The tale related in this chapter is as ancient as it is famous. 
All countries repeat the moral, in some way or other, it has 
become a proverb. Where do we not hear the expression, " The 
avaricious man is heartless." The French have a proverb corre- 
sponding to the precept of this example : " Le cceur de 1'avare est 
au fond de sa cassette," " The heart of the miser is at the bottom 
of his money box." What more particularly distinguishes Don 
Manuel's tale is the moral commentary which concludes it that all 
earthly treasures are perishable. 


What Count Fernan Gonzales said to Nuno 

NE day, Count Lucanor spoke to Patronio, 
his counsellor, as follows : 

" Patronio, you know that I am no 
longer a young man, and that, during 
my life, I have had many troubles. It is my wish 
now to inform you that I have resolved from hence- 
forth to enjoy myself follow the chase and avoid 
all worldly cares and anxieties. And, since I know 
that you are always able to give me the best advice, 
I pray you to counsel me as to this determination." 

" Count," said Patronio, " what you have said is 
very sensible, and I should like to be permitted to 
inform you what the Count Fernan Gonzales once 
said to Nuno Lainez." 


" Tell me, I pray you," said the Count, " what that 

" My lord," said Patronio, " the Count Fernan 
Gonzales, who resided at Burgos, had had much 
trouble in the defence of his possessions ; but, there 
happening to come a period of peace, Nuno Lainez 
said to him, ' Now let me advise you henceforth not 
to concern yourself so much with external troubles, 
but give yourself some ease and enjoyment, and leave 
your people a little leisure to amuse themselves.' 

'"No one,' said the Count, 'would feel happier 
to have leisure to enjoy himself and be at rest than I, 
if I could ; but, as you know, I have had wars with 
the Moors, with the people of Leon, and with the 
inhabitants of Navarre. However much we may 
desire to enjoy ourselves, our enemies would lose no 
time in taking advantage of us ; so if we wished to 
go hunting with our good falcons riding on com- 
fortable fat mules up and down the fair plains of 
Arlanza leaving the country undefended, however 
agreeable it might be, it would not be wise. It 
would be said of us as says the ancient proverb 

1 The man is dead and gone ; 
No more his name is known.' 

But, if we avoid self-indulgence and work hard to 
keep ourselves in a proper state of defence, guarding 
well our honour, they will say of us when we die 

'The man is dead and gone; 
But his name and fame live on.' 


Now, since all, good and bad, must die, it does not 
appear to me right, for the mere sake of self- 
indulgence, to act in such a manner as to sacrifice to 
pleasure that fame which should be the reward of 
our good actions, and remain to us long after we are 
no more. 1 

"And you, Count Lucanor, since you know that 
you must die, I would advise you never for the sake 
of self-indulgence, or for love of pleasure, to neglect 
those duties, the fulfilment of which, when you die, 
shall make your name to survive you." 

Now the Count was much pleased with what 
Patronio said, acted upon it, and found it just. 

And, as Don Juan considered this a good example, 
he caused it to be inserted in this book, and com- 
posed the following lines : 

If for vice and wanton pleasure our good fame we spend, 
Life is given in meagre measure, and we miss the end. 


Fernan Gonzales was one of the independent lords or counts 
of Castile, who, by their power, so long retarded the unity of 
Spain. His life was similar to that of all the great vassals of 
the crown one of perpetual warfare. He began his reign of 
power 933 and died in 968, according to Mariana; or 970, 
according to Ferreras. The noble answer given by him, as 
related in this tale, is not a poetic invention, but an historical 
fact, and may be found in the general chronicle arranged by 
order of Alfonso the Wise. This observation is particularly 
interesting as relating to Fernan Gonzales, as poets and 
chroniclers have sung his praises, with those of the Cid, Bernardo 
al Carpio, and San Fernando. As we stated in another place, 


the count was the hero of a laudatory poem mentioned by 
Argote de Molina. A work, also written by an Anti-Castilian, 
entitled, "Defence of Fernan Gonzales, as Sovereign Count of 
Castile," and which appeared eight centuries after the demise 
of the count, shows how his memory was revered by the 


Oj what happened to Don Rodrigo Melendez 
de Valdez. 

LUCANOR conversed one day 
with Patronio his counsellor in the 
following manner : 

" Patronio," said he, " you know 
that one of my neighbours and I have had conten- 
tions, that he is a man of great influence and much 
honoured. It now happens that we are both dis- 
posed to possess ourselves of a certain town, and it is 
positive that whoever arrives there first will possess 
himself of it, and thus it will be entirely lost to the 
other. You know, also, that all my servants and 
dependants are ready to march, and I have every 
reason to believe that, with God's help, if I proceed 
at once, I shall succeed with great honour and advan- 
tage. But there is this impediment ; not being in 
good health, I shall not be able to avail myself of 
this opportunity. Now I regret much the loss of 


this town ; but I acknowledge to you that to lose it 
in this manner provokes me still more, as I lose also 
the honour which the possession of it would give. 
Having great confidence in your understanding, I 
pray you tell me what is best to be done." 

"My lord," said Patronio, "I can understand 
your anxiety in this matter ; and, in order that you 
may know how to act always for the best in cases 
like this, I should be much pleased to relate to 
you what happened to Don Rodrigo Melendez de 

The Count desired him to relate what that was. 

"Count Lucanor," said Patronio, "Don Rodrigo 
Melendez de Valdez was a knight much honoured in 
the kingdom of Leon, and was accustomed, when- 
ever any misfortune happened to him, to exclaim, 
' God be praised ! for, since he has so willed it, it is 
for the best.' This Don Rodrigo was counsellor 
to, and a great favourite with, the King of Leon. 
He had many enemies, who, through jealousy, 
reported so many falsehoods, and induced the king 
to think so ill of him as to order him to be put 
to death. 

" Now, Don Rodrigo, being at his own residence, 
he received the king's command to attend him. 
Meanwhile those who were employed to assassinate 
him waited quietly about half a league from his 
house. Don Rodrigo intended going on horseback 
to the king, but, coming down stairs, he fell and 
broke his leg. When his attendants who were to 


have accompanied him saw this accident, they were 
much grieved, but commenced saying, half jocosely, 
to Don Rodrigo, ' You know you always say, " that 
which God permits is ever for the best : " now, do 
you think this is for the best ? ' 

"He replied, that they might be certain, how- 
ever much this accident was to be deplored, yet he 
would say to them, since it was by the will of God, 
it was surely for the best, and all they might say 
could never change his opinions. 

"Now those who were waiting to kill Don 
Rodrigo by the king's command, when they found 
he did not come, and knew what had happened to 
him, returned to the palace to explain why they 
could not fulfil his orders. 

"Don Rodrigo was a long time confined to his 
house, and unable to mount his horse. During this 
delay the king ascertained how Don Rodrigo had 
been calumniated, and, having ordered the slanderers 
to be seized, went himself to the house of Don 
Rodrigo Melendez de Valdez, and related to him the 
slanders that had been propagated against him, and 
for the fault that he the king, had committed, in 
ordering him to be put to death, entreated pardon ; 
and, in consideration thereof, bestowed on him new 
honours and riches. And justice was satisfied by 
the speedy punishment of those who had reported 
such falsehoods. In this way God delivered Don 
Rodrigo, who was not guilty. Hence was his cus- 
tomary affirmation proved true, that, 'Whatever 



God permitted to happen was always for the 

"And you, Count Lucanor, should not complain 
of this hindrance to the fulfilment of your wishes. 
Be certain, in your heart, that 'whatever God wills 
is for the best ; ' and, if you will but trust in Him, 
He will cause all things to work for your good. 

" But you ought to understand that these things 
which happen are of two kinds. The one is when 
a misfortune happens to a man which admits of no 
relief : the other is when a misfortune is remediable. 
Now, when an evil can be cured, it is a man's duty 
to exert all his energies to obtain the necessary 
relief, and not remain inactive, saying, ' it is chance, 
or ' it is the will of God/ for this would be to tempt 
Providence. But, since man is endowed with under- 
standing and reason, it is his duty to endeavour to 
overcome the misfortunes which may befall him, 
when they will admit of alleviation. But, in those 
cases where there is no remedy, then man must 
patiently submit, since it is really the will of God, 
which is always for the best. 

" And as this which has happened to you is clearly 
one of those afflictions sent by God, and admits 
of no remedy ; and as what God permits is for the 
best, rest therefore assured that God will so direct 
circumstances that the result will be as you desire." 

And the Count held that Patronio had spoken 
wisely, and that it was good advice; and, acting 
accordingly, he found good results. 


And Don Juan, considering this a good example, 
caused it to be written in this book, and composed 
the lines, which say thus : 

Murmur not at God's dealings ; it may be 

He seeks thy good, in ways thou canst not see. 


Don Manuel, in this tale, while calling upon us to exercise 
implicit faith and resignation to the will of Providence, as a 
Christian duty, proves that his mind was not prejudiced by the 
then prevailing Arab doctrine of fatalism and inert blind submis- 
sion to what was supposed to be dispensations of Providence, but 
urges equally the duty of using our intellectual powers that we 
may be enabled to discriminate between what really is the will of 
God, and what arises from our own indiscretion, and what does or 
does not admit of remedy. 


Concerning that which happened to a great Philosopher 
and a young King, his Pupil. 

OUNT LUCANOR conversed with Pa- 
tronio, his counsellor, at another time, 
in the following manner : 

" Patronio," said he, " it happens 
that I had a relative whom I loved very much, and 
who was also much attached to me. He left, at 
his death, a son, still very young, and it devolves 
upon me to educate this boy, both from the great 
obligations I am under, as also for the love I had for 


his father ; neither can I forget the great assistance I 
received from this good friend when I needed it, and 
which I feel I shall hereafter receive from the son 
also : and God knows I love him as my own child. 
Now, as the boy has intelligence, I hope, through 
God, that he may become a good man ; but youths 
are often led away by bad examples, and fail in 
doing all that they ought to do. Now, knowing the 
correctness of your understanding, it would please 
me much to have your opinion ; and I pray you to 
advise me how I should direct this youth, so that his 
body, soul, and estate may profit by it." 

"Count Lucanor," said Patronio, "in order that 
you may act as concerns this boy in the manner 
which appears to me most desirable, I would wish 
you to hear what happened to a great philosopher, 
who had a young king for his pupil." 

The Count begged he would relate to him what 
that was. 

"My lord," said Patronio, "a king had a son, 
whom he placed in the charge of a great philo- 
sopher to be educated, a man in whom he had great 

" When the king died, his son, the young king, 
still remained under the care of the philosopher 
until he was more than fifteen years of age. But 
soon after this he began to disregard the wise coun- 
sels of his preceptor, and to associate with reprobate 
companions, who, having no interest in his real wel- 
fare, flattered and encouraged him in all his wishes. 


This conduct caused his manners and habits to 
become so entirely degenerated that the people began 
to observe it, and to speak of him, saying, how he 
was gradually losing the charm and openness of 

" The philosopher whose duty it had been to 
educate the king, seeing this state of things, was 
much grieved, and thought seriously of it, but felt 
quite at a loss how to act. He had tried many times 
to restrain him by prayers and by gentle means, and 
often by severe ones, but all without effect. The 
philosopher seeing this, and finding that in no way 
could he induce him to listen to good counsel, 
thought by means of the following device that he 
might influence him. He commenced by gradually 
circulating about the court that he possessed the art 
of divining, and to a greater extent than any other 
man in the world. 

"After a time this reached the ears of the king, 
who asked the philosopher if it were really true that 
he possessed the art of augury, as they had informed 
him ? 

" This at first he denied ; but, after some further 
solicitation on the part of the king, he admitted it 
was so, but expressed great anxiety that it should 
not be known to the world. 

" Youth is usually impatient to know and do all 
things; and the king, being young, urgently pressed 
the philosopher to give him an example of his 
powers. The more he excused himself, the more 


the young king entreated. At length the philosopher 
proposed that they should one morning leave the 
palace together very early, so as not to be observed, 
when he would give him an exemplification of his 

" Early the following morning they started, the 
philosopher directing his steps towards a valley in 
which were a number of deserted villages, where they 
heard a crow cawing on a tree. The king pointed 
this out to the philosopher, who made signs for him 
to be silent. Another crow, which they saw on a 
neighbouring bough, commenced likewise to caw 
from time to time, giving it the appearance of a 

"After the philosopher had listened some time, 
he began to weep bitterly, rent his clothes, and ex- 
hibited all the outward signs of violent grief. 

" When the youthful king saw this, he was in 
great alarm and begged he would tell him what had 
occurred to disturb him in that manner. 

" The philosopher requested he would not insist 
on knowing the cause; but, after much entreaty, 
told him, saying, it were better for him that he were 
dead than living, feeling so disgraced through his 
pupil's conduct; for not only the people, but even 
the birds, knew that, from his unjust taxation and 
total neglect of his duties, he would lose his king- 
dom, together with all his possessions, and be 
despised by mankind. 

" The young king inquired how he could learn 


this from the birds; and was told, in reply, that 
these crows intended marrying the son of the one 
with the daughter of the other. The crow who 
commenced speaking first, said to the other, ' It is 
a long time since this marriage was arranged; it 
would be better now that it should take place.' 

" ' It is true/ said the other crow, ' it was to have 
been so; but now I have become much richer than 
you ; and, thanks be to God,' said she, ' since the 
present king began his reign, all the villages in this 
my valley have become deserted, and I find in the 
abandoned houses abundance of snakes, lizards, 
toads, and other things which usually exist in such 
places ; therefore, as I have much more to eat than 
formerly, the marriage would not now be equal/ 

" When the other crow heard this she commenced 
laughing, and replied, ' What you have said has 
very little sense in it, if it be all the reason you 
can give for breaking off the marriage; for, if it 
pleases God to prolong the life of the young king, 
my daughter will be very much richer than your 
son, as there will be many more deserted houses 
in the valley where we live, we having ten villages 
where you have only one ; you need not, therefore, 
on this account, delay the marriage.' 

" Hearing this explanation, the two crows con- 
sented at once to the union of their children. 

" Now, the young king, hearing all this, was 
much grieved, and began to reflect how deficient 
and careless he had been in the proper fulfilment of 


his duties, by his neglect converting his kingdom 
into a desert. When his preceptor saw how 
thoughtful and unhappy he had become, and that 
he appeared now disposed to listen to advice, he 
gave him some good instructions; and in this way 
was his conduct entirely changed, and he devoted 
himself ever afterwards to improve, not only his 
own affairs, but those of his kingdom. 

" And you, Count Lucanor, since you desire to 
educate and establish good principles in this youth, 
let it be done by good examples; by instructive 
conversations and in agreeable manner lead him to 
understand and like his duties. But on no account 
worry him by misjudged chastisements, or think to 
guide him by ill-treatment, for the disposition of the 
young is such that they soon acquire a dislike to 
those who correct them, particularly young men of 
high, independent spirit, as they will never admit 
they are in the wrong, although it may be their best 
friend who corrects them, and with the kindest 
intentions, yet they never see things in this light. 
Avoid carefully this method, so injurious to both 
parties, and so destructive to the happy accomplish- 
ment of your wishes." 

The Count was much pleased with the advice 
Patronio gave him, and acted upon it. 

And as Don Juan approved of this example, he 
ordered it to be written in this book, and composed 
the following verses : 


Do not chastise the erring youth, 
But lead him gently to the truth. 


This fable is evidently of Eastern origin, and is found in 
almost all their collections. Although its style seems peculiar 
to the old Indian, we find in the different relations the 
birds sometimes represented to be crows ; in others, owls ; 
again, as other birds of prey. The first idea has had many 
imitators, but none have developed it with the good style and 
clearness of the author of Lucanor. Le Sage relates a very 
amusing tale, similar to the above, of a conversation between 
two magpies, without, however, determining its origin. He 
merely says, "It reminds me of an Indian tale that I read in 
Pilpay or some other fabulist." 


Relates what happened to a Moorish King, who had 
three Sons, and who desired to know which would 
become the best Man. 

OUNT LUCANOR, being one day 
in conversation with Patronio, said as 
follows : 

"Patronio, there are many young 
men who are being brought up at my court. Some 
are of high birth, some are not. Now I find their 
manners and dispositions so various that I am 
perplexed ; and, knowing the strength of your 


judgment, I pray you to tell me how I may be 
able to form an opinion as to which of them will 
become the best man." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " the question which 
you place before me is very difficult to answer, for 
we cannot speak with certainty of that which is to 
come; and, as what you demand is hidden in the 
future, so must some uncertainty rest upon my 

"But we may be able to form some idea by par- 
ticularly observing their development internally as 
well as externally. As regards this latter, there 
is the form of the features, the grace of movement, 
the complexion, as also the growth of the body 
and development of its members; by the principal 
members, I mean those essential to good health, the 
heart, the brain, and the liver. Yet though all 
these signs may appear satisfactory, we can speak 
with no certainty as to the ultimate results, for 
seldom do they all accord long, one derangement 
influencing all the functions, or the contrary. But 
for the most part, according to the indications above 
named, may we judge of the future. Notice the 
form of the features, and particularly the eyes, with 
the grace of movement : these signs seldom deceive. 
Do not, however, suppose that gracefulness is de- 
pendent upon beauty or ugliness, for there are many 
men who are handsome and well-formed, but with- 
out grace; while again, others, decidedly ill-made, 
have that gracefulness which entitles them to be 


called fine men. Nevertheless, the development of 
the body and limbs should be taken as indications of 
valour and activity, although it may not be always 
so. It is, therefore, as I said before, very difficult to 
speak with certainty, for what appears favourable 
now may, by the force of circumstances, be entirely 
changed. Again, the condition of the mind is still 
more difficult to understand, when you seek through 
it for indications of what the young man is to be- 
come. You require that I should give you some 
certain signs whereby you can form an opinion of 
which of your young men will become the most 
manly. It will much please me to be permitted to 
recount to you how, upon a similar occasion, a 
Moorish king proved his three sons, to ascertain 
which of them would become the bravest man." 

"Relate to me," said the Count, "what that 

" My lord," said Patronio, " there was a Moorish 
king who had three sons. Now he, having the 
power to appoint which of them he pleased to reign 
after him, when he had arrived at a good old age, 
the leading men of his kingdom waited upon him, 
praying to be informed which of his sons he would 
please to name as his successor. The king replied, 
that in one month he would give them an answer. 

"After eight or ten days the king said to his 
eldest son, ' I shall ride out to-morrow, and I wish 
you to accompany me.' 

"The son waited upon the king as desired, but 


not so early as the time appointed. When he ar- 
rived, the king said he wished to dress, and requested 
him to bring him his garments. His son went to 
the Lord of the Bedchamber, and requested him to 
take the king his garments. The attendant inquired 
what suit it was he wished for ; and the son returned 
to ask his father, who replied, his state robe. The 
young man went and told the attendant to bring the 
state robe. 

" Now, for every article of the king's attire it was 
necessary to go backwards and forwards, carrying 
answers and questions, till at length the attendant 
came to dress and boot the king. The same repeti- 
tion goes on when the king called for his horse, spurs, 
bridle, saddle, sword, and so forth. Now, all being 
prepared, with some trouble and difficulty, the king 
changed his mind, and said he would not ride out; 
but desired the prince his son to go through the 
city, carefully observing everything worth notice, 
and that, on his return, he should come and give his 
father his opinion of what he had seen. 

"The prince set out, accompanied by the royal 
suite and the chief nobility. Trumpets, cymbals, 
and other instruments preceded this brilliant caval- 
cade. After traversing a part of the city only, he 
returned to the palace, when the king desired him 
to relate what most arrested his attention. 

" ' I observed nothing, sire,' said he, ' but the 
great noise caused by the cymbals and trumpets, 
which confounded me.' 


" A few days later, the king sent for his second 
son, and commanded him to attend very early the 
next day, when he subjected him to the same 
ordeal as his brother, but with a somewhat more 
favourable result. 

"Again, after some days, he called for his 
youngest son's attendance. Now this young man 
came to the palace very early, long before his father 
was awake, and waited patiently until the king arose, 
when he entered his chamber with that respectful hu- 
miliation which became him. The king then desired 
him to bring his clothes that he might dress. The 
young prince begged the king to specify which 
clothes, boots, etc., the same with all the other things 
he desired, so that he could bring all at the same 
time, neither would he permit the attendant to assist 
him, saying, if the king permitted him he would feel 
highly honoured, and was willing to do all that was 

"When the king was dressed, he requested his 
son to bring his horse. Again the son asked what 
horse, saddle, spurs, sword, and other requisites he 
desired to have ; and as he commanded so it was 
done, without trouble or farther annoyance. 

" Now, when all was ready, the king, as before, 
declined going. He, however, requested his son to 
go, and to take notice of what he saw, so that on his 
return he might relate to him what he thought 
worthy of notice. 

" In obedience to his father's commands, the 


young prince rode through the city, attended by the 
same escort as his brothers ; but they knew nothing, 
neither did the younger son, nor indeed anyone else, 
of the object the king had in view. As he rode 
along, he desired that they would show him the 
interior of the city, the streets, and where the king 
kept his treasures, and what was supposed to be the 
amount thereof; he inquired where the nobility and 
people of importance in the city lived; after this, 
he desired that they should present to him all 
the cavalry and infantry, and these he made go 
through their evolutions; he afterwards visited the 
walls, towers, and fortresses of the city, so that 
when he returned to the king it was very late. 

" The king desired him to tell him what he had 
seen. The young prince replied, that he feared 
giving offence if he stated all he felt at what he had 
seen and observed. Now the king commanded him 
to relate everything, as he hoped for his blessing. 
The young man replied, that although he was sure 
his father was a very good king, yet it seemed to him 
he had not done as much good as he might, having 
such good troops, so much power, and such great 
resources ; for, had he wished it, he might have 
made himself master of the world. 

" Now the king felt much pleased at this judi- 
cious remark of his son. So when the time arrived 
that he had to give his decision to the people, he 
told them that he should appoint his youngest son 
for their king, from the indications he had given him 


of his ability, by certain proofs of fitness to govern, 
to which he had subjected all his sons, although he 
would have desired to appoint his eldest son as his 
successor ; yet he felt it a duty to select the one who 
appeared best qualified for the station. 

"And you, Count Lucanor, if you desire to know 
which of the young men is the most promising, you 
must reflect on what I have related to you, and, by 
the adoption of similar means, you will be enabled 
to form your opinion." 

The Count was much pleased with what Patronio 
had said ; and, as Don Juan found this to be a good 
example, he ordered it to be written in this book, 
and made the following lines, which say : 

By ways and works thou mayest know 
Which youths to worthiest men will grow. 


This interesting narrative, evidently of Arabic origin, recalls 
to us the heroic tale related in the history of Rodrigo Diaz de 
Vivar, commonly called the Cid Campeador. This interesting 
tale is immortalized by Corneille in one of his best plays. The 
story is as follows. The old Count Diego de Vivar, after the 
gross insult he received from Count D'Orgaz, called his three 
sons to him, and forcibly pressed their hands within his own. 
Now the two elder ones, Fernando and Bermuda, shrieked 
out as if they had been seized by the gripe of a lion, whilst 
Rodrigo, the younger, gave no indication of pain, but uttered 
an exclamation, and said, ' If you were not my father I would 
strike you." To which the old Count replied, "It would not 
be the first blow I have received. You now know the offence ; 
see here is the sword ; I have nothing further to add. With 


my white hairs I go to weep over my insulted honour, leaving 
you, my son, the duty to avenge it." The sentence uttered by 
the old Count, addressing his son, as written by Corneille, is 
truly beautiful, when with impassioned dignity he exclaims, 
" Rodrique, as-tu du cceur ? " (" Rodrigo, have you a heart ? ") 

With more discernment, Don Manuel, who has probably 
taken this historical fact as the foundation of his own story, 
with this difference, however, that in his recital he relies, not 
as the Cid, upon physical indications, but after due investiga- 
tions, as is shown in his narrative, places his reliance more 
upon the reasoning powers and mental development of, as in 
the case of Diego, the younger son. 


Of that which happened to the Canons of the Cathe- 
dral Church of Paris, and to the Friars of Saint 
Francis, called Minors. 

[OUNT LUCANOR, conversing one day 
with Patronio his counsellor, said as 
follows : 

"Patronio, I have a friend, with 
whom I have arranged to do a certain thing, which 
we anticipate will be to our mutual advantage and 
honour. An opportunity now presents itself to com- 
mence this undertaking; but, my friend being at 
present absent, I feel uncertain how to act until he 
returns. Now, as it has pleased God to bless you 
with a good understanding, I pray you to give me 
your advice." 


" My lord," said Patronio, " if you would act as it 
appears to me the most advisable for your interest, 
I should like you to know what happened to the 
canons of the cathedral church of Paris, with a con- 
vent of friars minors." 

The Count begged him to relate what it was. 

" The canons of the cathedral said, that, as they 
were the superior order in the church, they had the 
right to toll the first morning bell. The friars con- 
tended that, as they were obliged to rise very early 
to study, and then to sing matins, they ought more 
properly to toll the first bell, and wait for no one. 
All this caused much contention and disputing, both 
parties expending large sums of money on lawyers 
and legal documents, the litigation continuing a very 
long time at the papal court. 

"At length a mandate arrived, referring the 
matter to a cardinal, with an express command that 
he should promptly decide the question at issue. 

" The cardinal ordered all the documents of the 
case to be placed before him : the multiplicity of 
these was enough to frighten any man. Now, after 
having arranged the papers in order, he cited the in- 
terested parties to appear before him on a given day 
to receive sentence. When they assembled before 
him, he, in their presence, burnt all the writings, 
and said, ' Friends, the cause has gone on long 
enough, costing you both much trouble and money ; 
I will therefore discontinue the suit, giving a* a final 



sentence, that they who rise first shall toll the morn- 
ing bell.' 

" And you, Count Lucanor, if the project is 
advantageous to both, and you are able to do it 
alone, I should advise you not to lose your op 
portunity, but act with promptness and decision. 
Things are often irretrievably lost by hesitation and 
uncalled-for delay, so that afterwards, when a man 
desires to act, he finds himself incapable of so doing." 

The Count, considering this to be very good advice, 
acted upon it, and found the results to answer well. 
And Don Juan, understanding that this was a good 
example, had it inscribed in this book, and composed 
the following verse : 

The good occasion use it, 
Lest, through delay, you lose it ! 


The above tale resembles not a little the facetious style gene- 
rally adopted by the Archpriest of Hita, Juan Ruiz, famous 
for his satirical writings, and a contemporary of Don Juan 
Manuel, and by Rabelais. These two writers were particularly 
noted for their satirical allegories. The cardinal, in his refined 
satire, not only lanced a tacit condemnation against the indo- 
lence of the canons, but against also the arbitrary and unjust 
claim set up by them, in contesting with an inferior class that 
right to which industry and early rising clearly entitled them. 


Of that which happened to a Falcon and a Heron, 
and, more particularly, to a cunning Falcon, which 
belonged to the Infant Don Manuel. 

OUNT LUCANOR conversed one day 
with his counsellor, Patronio, in the 
manner following : 

"Patronio," said he, "it has hap- 
pened lately to me to have contentions with many 
men, and no sooner is one quarrel ended than I am 
by some one instigated to commence another ; others 
again recommend me to rest and be at peace, while 
again, others wish me to renew the war with the 
Moors. Now, knowing that no one is better able 
than yourself to advise me, I pray that you will 
counsel me how best to act under these circum- 

"My lord," said Patronio, "in order that you 
may the better act with judgment, it would be well 
that you should know what happened to a cunning 
falcon, belonging to the Infant Don Manuel." 

The Count begged that he would relate the cir- 

" Count Lucanor," said Patronio, " the Infant 
Don Manuel being one day at the chase in the 
country near Escalona let fly a cunning falcon at a 


heron. Scarcely had he mounted above the heron, 
than he perceived an eagle approaching, when the 
falcon, being in great fear of him, left the heron and 
took to flight. The eagle, finding that he could not 
overtake the falcon, gave up the chase. As soon as 
the falcon saw that the eagle had departed he 
renewed his pursuit of the heron ; which the eagle 
perceiving, turned again upon the falcon, when the 
falcon again took flight as before, pursued by the 
eagle, which soon gave up the chase, when immediately 
the falcon returned to chase the heron. This occurred 
three or four times, the eagle departing each time, as 
before, and each time returning to kill the falcon. 

" The falcon, perceiving that the eagle rendered 
his killing the heron impossible, he mounted above 
the eagle and descended upon him with great fierce- 
ness, wounding him several times, until he drove 
him away. No sooner was he gone than he flew 
in pursuit of the heron and was engaged with it 
very high in air, which the eagle perceiving, again 
returned to attack him. The falcon, seeing that all 
his attempts were frustrated, left the heron, and 
mounted again above the eagle, descending upon him 
with such violence that he broke his wing. Seeing 
the eagle fall to the ground with the wing broken, 
the falcon then went in pursuit of the heron, and 
killed it this time, having freed himself from the 
hindrance of the eagle. 

"And you, Count Lucanor, since you desire to 
know how best to act as regards your estate, your 


honour, and your soul, and how best to devote your- 
self to the service of God, can anything in the world 
be more proper, considering your position, than 
going to war with the Moors, for the glory of the 
holy and true catholic faith ? Therefore, as soon as 
you can liberate yourself from other parties, com- 
mence a war with the Moors, as much good must 
arise from it. Firstly, you are devoting yourself to 
the service of God in an honourable engagement, 
gaining renown, and not eating the bread of idleness, 
which should never be said of a powerful noble. 
And, moreover, those holding your position, and 
without occupation, are unable to appreciate the 
worth of those who surround them, who lose the 
reward which, if engaged, they might otherwise 
deserve. Idleness may also incline you to do that 
which might be better left alone. Since, therefore, 
it is good and profitable that you, holding the posi- 
tion you do, should be well employed, certain it is 
that nothing can be better, more honourable, and 
more to your advantage here and hereafter than a 
war with the Moors. 

" Reflect, at least, on the example I gave you of 
the leap made by Richard, King of England, and 
how much he gained by it. And remember in your 
heart that you must die, and that God is all-seeing 
and of great justice, and that you cannot escape the 
great punishment due to you for those sins which 
you have committed unless indeed you should be for- 
tunate enough to have an opportunity to do penance 


for your sins. So if, being at war with the Moors, 
you were slain, being at the time truly penitent, you 
would have the good fortune of being a martyr ; and 
if you were not killed in battle, your good works 
and your good intentions would save you." 

The Count considered this a good example, and 
determined in his heart to follow it. He prayed 
to God to direct him how best to carry out his 

And Don Juan, understanding that this example 
was very good, ordered it to be written in this book, 
and made these lines, which say as follows : 

God's guidance making thee secure, 
Fight on to the end, of victory sure. 


This original and amusing tale of Don Manuel appears to be 
written by the hand of an old hunter, and has not only a war- 
like but a political signification, illustrating the necessity of 
exercising our ingenuity, judgment, and steady resolution to 
overcome opposition, losing not the opportunity, if presented, 
to soar above, and, like the falcon, overwhelm by the force of 
well-directed determination what before appeared invincible. 



Recounts what happened to Count Ferran Gonzalez, 
and the Reply which he gave to his Vassals. 

OUNT LUCANOR returned one day 
from a campaign, much wearied and 
quite overcome with fatigue, his treasury 
being also literally empty ; and in this 
state, before he could enjoy any repose, he received 
intelligence that another attack was about to be 
made upon him. Now, the greater number of his 
vassals, hearing this, strongly advised him to rest 
and recruit his exhausted strength, and then act as 
circumstances might dictate. 

Now the Count begged of Patronio to advise 
him, and this latter replied that, in his opinion, the 
best way to do this would be by relating to him the 
answer Count Ferran Gonzalez once gave to his 

" The Count Ferran Gonzalez conquered Almarzon 
in Hacinas, and lost there very many of his troops, 
he himself and the survivors being badly wounded. 
Now, before they had recovered from their fatigues 
and wounds, the Count was informed that the 
King of Navarre had entered his dominions, and 
he immediately summoned his vassals to prepare 
themselves to attack those of Navarre. To this they 


replied, that both themselves and their horses were 
too fatigued, and, although desirous to do their duty 
as usual, yet being wounded as well as the Count 
himself, they hoped they should be allowed to rest 
until they were recovered. 

"When the Count saw they were all of the 
same mind, being himself more influenced by his 
honour than his sufferings, replied, ' Friends, for 
the wounds which we have, let us not desert our 
duty ; remember, those we may receive will serve 
but to make us forget the old ones.' 

" His people, seeing that he was devoid of all 
personal considerations, and influenced only by a 
sense of honour and love of his country, went with 
him and gained the battle, after which they had a 
long continuance of peace. 

"And you, Count Lucanor, if you are really 
desirous of doing that which you ought to do, 
seeing how much is required for the defence of your 
country, of your people, and of your honour, do not 
remain inactive because of your unhappy position, or 
your fatigue, or from a sense of danger, for the new 
enterprise will serve but to make you forget the 
troubles which are passed." 

And the Count, considering this to be a good 
example and very good advice, followed it, and 
found the result favourable. 

And Don Juan, understanding that this tale was 
worthy a place in this book, had it written therein, 
and composed the following verses : 


Hold this for sure, for 'tis a truth well proved, 
Honour and slothful ease are wide removed. 


Don Manuel has in this tale exemplified the turbulence of 
the feudal system of the middle ages. The fable belongs to 
the tenth century, when every sovereign of lesser rank was 
little better than a party chief; and had full scope for the 
exercise of his virtues as well as his vices. The moral tone of 
society was reduced to so low an ebb that by force of opposi- 
tion individual characters appear ennobled. The proximity of a 
race so inimical in their characters and religion to their Spanish 
neighbours ever increased the peril of these civil commotions. It 
was necessary to go continually from frontier to frontier to arrange, 
by the sword or otherwise, petty disputes. So each lord and chief 
was forced to a constant display of courage and activity. Where 
can we find anything nobler than the reply of Ferran Gon- 
zalez, as given in this story, unless that of the French hero, 
Christian and philosopher of the l6th century, when he said, 
"La vie est une In tie, ne perdons pas un seul jour ; nous nous 
reposerons dans I'e'ternite" ? 

The above story has been translated, as a specimen, by Tick- 
nor, in his " History of Spanish Literature," vol. i., pp. 62-68, 
and is, with one exception to be mentioned hereafter, the only 
portion of the work which had ever up to this time (as far as 
I am aware) appeared in English. 



Of that which happened to a King and 
his Favourite. 

HEN Count Lucanor was once in confi- 
dential conversation with Patronio, his 
adviser, he said, " Patronio, a man of 
rank, much honoured and of great in- 
fluence, and who, you must know, is a particular friend 
of mine, a few days since informed me, in strict confi- 
dence, that, from circumstances which have occurred, 
he had determined upon leaving this country never to 
return ; and, in testimony of the great regard which he 
has for me, he desires to leave me all his lands those 
which he has purchased, as also those which he 
holds on tenure. It appears to be a great honour as 
well as very advantageous to me ; yet I pray you to 
tell me what you think of it, and how I ought to 
act under such circumstances." 

"Count Lucanor," said Patronio, "your own 
good sense needs but little of my advice ; but, 
since you desire my opinion of the matter, let me 
caution you against being deceived. In the first 
place, I would say, that however much you may 
consider this man as your friend, I am of opinion 
his object is to deceive you ; indeed, your position 


calls to my mind that which, under similar circum- 
stances, happened to a king and his favourite." 

Count Lucanor desired to be informed what that 
was ; and Patronio related it as follows : 

" There was a king, who had a favourite in whom 
he had great confidence, which excited the jealousy 
of those around, so that they sought every oppor- 
tunity to speak evil of him to the king, his lord. 
Nevertheless, with all their statements, the king 
could not be induced to suspect or doubt his loyalty. 
Seeing that they were in no way able to accomplish 
what they desired, they informed the king that his 
favourite was plotting to bring about his death, and 
as to a young son that the king had, as soon as he 
had him in his power, he intended to destroy him, 
and so possess himself of the kingdom. 

" It was not until the king heard this that he en- 
tertained any doubt as to the loyalty of his favourite, 
but now he was sorely grieved, and was not without 
fear ; for in such cases, where there is so much to 
lose and so much to be gained, no prudent man can 
hope to act rightly without proof; and therefore 
the king remained overwhelmed with doubt and 
suspicion and in great fear, not knowing how to 
act until he really knew the truth, for he knew there 
were those who sought evil against his favourite. 

"The courtiers, seeing the king's anxiety, came 
to him and informed him of an ingenious method, 
by which he would be enabled to prove the truth of 
what they had asserted. 


"After hearing them, the king thought well of 
their suggestions, and acted upon them. Some few 
days after, the king, conversing with his favourite, 
gave him to understand by degrees that he was much 
disgusted with the life of this world, in which all 
appeared as vanity ; saying no more to him on this 
occasion. At the end of some days, while talking 
again with him, he remarked, as if by accident, that 
each day made him more dislike the life and manners 
of the world, and so often repeated the same thing 
until at last the favourite was impressed with the 
conviction that the king really had no enjoyment in 
the honours, or riches, or pleasures of this world. 
And when the king saw that he was fully impressed 
with this feeling, he said to him, one day, 'I have 
been reflecting upon the subject which occupies my 
thoughts, and have come to the determination to re- 
sign my kingdom, and retire into a distant country, 
where I am not known and where I can enjoy the 
pleasure of retirement and peace, and where I can 
do penance for my sins, and so obtain the mercy and 
grace of God, fitting me for the glory of Paradise.' 

" When the favourite heard these words of the 
king, he was much astonished, and used every argu- 
ment to divert him from his intentions ; and, among 
others, how unjustly he would be acting towards 
God, in leaving his people, amongst whom now 
there was peace and justice ; for it was quite certain 
that as soon as he had departed the country would 
be torn by revolutions and contentions, doing great 


injury to the cause of God, and to the kingdom, and, 
above all, said he, ' you cannot with justice leave the 
queen and your son, who is still so young, exposed (as 
they certainly will be) to so much danger, both as 
regards their persons and their estates.' 

"To this the king replied, 'I have well con- 
sidered in my mind how best I shall be able to leave 
my kingdom well protected, as also my wife and son, 
and maintain order in the land. You know that I 
have raised you to your present position, and have 
rendered you great service. In return, I have ever 
found you loyal; you have always served me well 
and with rectitude. For these reasons, I feel assured 
I can leave the queen and my son with you in 
greater safety than with any other man in the world. 
I therefore consign them to your care, with all the 
fortresses and provinces of my kingdom, convinced 
that no harm can come to them, or treachery to my 
son; and if I should ever return, I feel certain of 
finding safe all I have left in your charge ; and if, 
perchance, I should die, I have equal confidence that 
you will guard and protect my son until the time 
comes when he is able to govern the kingdom. It 
is for these reasons that I feel I can leave well 
protected all that I possess.' 

"When the counsellor found that it was impos- 
sible to divert the king from his intentions, and 
heard that the queen and her son were to be left 
in his charge, he could not conceal the gratification 
he felt in having full power to act as he pleased. 


" Now he had in his house a captive, who was a 
very wise man and a philosopher, and whom he was 
accustomed to consult in all important matters. As 
soon, therefore, as he parted from the king, he sought 
his captive and recounted to him what the king had 
said, and how gratified he felt in the good fortune 
of having the queen, and her son, and all the king- 
dom placed under his entire control. 

" When the captive philosopher heard all that had 
passed between his lord and the king, he blamed him 
very much for accepting the king's proposals, saying 
that he felt certain he had placed himself and his 
possessions in great danger, ' for, whatever the king 
may have said, it is not his intention to do so ; his 
only object is to verify the suspicions which your 
enemies have impressed on his mind ; and by letting 
him see that you are pleased by his proposal, you 
have placed yourself in great danger.' 

" When the counsellor of the king heard this 
explanation he was in great trouble, for he now saw 
clearly that everything was as his captive had said. 
And when the wise man whom he kept in his house 
saw him in such great distress, he counselled him in 
what manner he might escape from the danger in 
which he was placed, and this was the way. He 
was that night to shave off his hair and beard and 
clothe himself in an old and patched garment, such 
as is worn by wandering beggars, and with a staff 
and a pair of old broken shoes well ironed and 
gaping open, and to put between the lining of his 


clothes a quantity of gold pieces. In this way, at 
the break of day, he appeared at the gate of the king, 
and desired the porter who was there to inform the 
king secretly that he was prepared to depart with 
him, before the people were awake. The porter 
was astonished to see him come in that style to have 
an interview with the king, but did as he desired. 

"The king marvelled much at this message, and 
desired his favourite to enter. When he saw him 
he was astonished, and requested to be informed 
why he presented himself in that style of dress. 

" The counsellor replied that, knowing his deter- 
mination to travel into a foreign country, and that 
he so desired it that no persuasion could alter his 
resolution ; and, as all the honour and wealth which 
he possessed were derived from the king, and seeing 
the misery and expatriation he had determined to 
undergo, even to the leaving of his queen, his son, 
and his kingdom, he had resolved to travel with him, 
and to serve him with an unceasing fidelity. He 
had assumed the dress in which he presented himself 
in order that they might travel unknown, and having 
placed gold enough in his vest to serve both their 
lives, he ventured to suggest that they should im- 
mediately depart, before their intentions could be 

"When the king heard what his favourite had 
said, believing in his true loyalty, he expressed him- 
self much pleased, and related the manner in which 
he had been deceived, and that what he had said 


was but to prove his sincerity. And the counsellor 
thanked God that he had taken the advice of the 
philosopher whom he held as a captive in his house. 

"And you, Count Lucanor, must take care not 
to be deceived by this offer of your friend, for certain 
it is that he only makes it to test your feelings, as 
to your desiring to possess yourself of his honour 
and possessions. Assure him, to the contrary, that 
you desire neither the one nor the other; for with- 
out confidence, friendship cannot continue long." 

And the Count thought well of the advice which 
Patronio gave, and, following it, found the end 

And Don Juan, considering this example to be 
very good, caused it to be written in this book, and 
composed these lines : 

Do not believe that a man will descend 

To dishonour himself for the good of a friend. 

And these others which say : 

By the pity of God, and a good counsel in need, 
A man shall from danger escape, and succeed. 


In this example, the moralist and courtier, Don Manuel, 
gives us two distinct lessons, the principal of which is addressed 
to court favourites, and, we suspect, the fruit of his own expe- 
rience, he having passed the greater part of his life in constant 
trouble and anxiety, caused by the perfidy of Alfonso XI, who 
was continually laying snares for him, though, being more en- 
lightened than his master, he knew how to evade them. In 


many Indian and Arabian tales we find examples of the con- 
stant struggle going on between kings and favourites. In those 
states where despotism reigned, ambition was always urging 
men to dangerous stratagems ; the art exemplified in such can- 
not astonish us more than the multiplicity of plots arising from 
the natural distrust of the Asiatic character. 


What happened to a good Man and his Son, 
leading a beast to market. 

N another occasion, when Count Luca- 
nor was conversing with Patronio, his 
adviser, he informed him that he felt 
much embarrassed as to the method of 
carrying out an object which he had in view, for 
he felt that in whatever way he acted many people 
would criticise and blame him, some with reason 
and some without. 

"How shall I act?" said the Count. "I pray 
you to inform me what you would advise under the 

" Count Lucanor," said Patronio, " I know that 
you can find many men more able to advise you than 
I am; besides, God has blessed you with a good 
understanding, making my advice but of little service 
to you ; but, since it is your desire that I should give 
you my opinion how to act, I shall have much 
pleasure in being permitted to recount what once 



happened, under similar circumstances, to a man 
and his son." 

The Count expressing his desire to be informed 
what that was, Patronio related as follows : 

" A good man had a son, who, although young, had 
so excellent an understanding that the father was 
induced to consult him in all his projects. The 
son, however, had no decision or perseverance in 
his character ; and whatever the father proposed, so 
many doubts and objections were raised by the son 
that each project was abandoned and it ended by 
nothing being done. 

" It is well known that, although the young may 
not be deficient in understanding and spirit, yet 
they may commit many errors : having a mind to 
see the right thing to be done, but, wanting perse- 
verance and a good guide, never complete anything. 
And so this young man, though he had a naturally 
good understanding, yet, wanting the resolution to 
complete anything, caused his father much trouble in 
many of his undertakings. 

"For a long time the father submitted to this 
state of things, suffering much injury from being 
interfered with in his projects, and annoyance from 
many things which his son said to him. At length 
he determined to punish his son, and give him an 
example by showing him how he managed his own 
affairs when not interfered with, as we are told by 

" The good man and his son were farmers, living 


in the neighbourhood of a town. One market-day 
he told him they should both go there to buy some 
things which were wanted. They agreed to take a 
beast to bring back the goods ; and accordingly went 
to market, leading the beast. On their way they met 
some men returning from the town. After saluting, 
these latter remarked how strange it was that they 
should lead the beast and walk. The good man 
asked his son what he thought of the remarks made 
by the men. The son replied that what they said 
was just, for the animal being unladen it was silly for 
them to be walking. The good man then told his 
son to mount, and so journeying they met other men, 
who commenced saying, ' How is it that the old 
man, who appears fatigued, should be walking while 
the young man is riding ? ' Again the good man 
asked his son what he thought of this remark ; again 
he replied that he thought they were right. The 
father then told his son to dismount, and mounted 
in his stead. A little way further they met some 
people who observed how unjust it appeared that the 
old man, who was accustomed to hardships, should 
be riding like a gentleman, while he allowed his son, 
who was young and delicate, to walk. Again the 
good man inquired of his son what he now thought ; 
he replied that he agreed with them. On this the 
good man desired his son to mount also, so that 
neither should walk. Again they met others, who 
remarked to them that they were committing a great 
error in both riding on a beast so thin and appa- 


rently so ill able to bear them. Again the good 
man demanded of his son what he thought of these 
last remarks. The youth replied, it certainly ap- 
peared to him that what they said was true. 

" Then the father answered his son, saying, ' Son, 
remember when we left home we led the beast un- 
laden, which you thought was best. After meeting 
some men on the road, who made remarks on oui 
walking, I ordered you to mount, you then agreed 
with them. We met, afterwards, other men, who 
said that was not right, in which you also agreed. I 
then ordered you to dismount, and mounted in your 
stead; and, forsooth, because others remarked on 
my riding and your walking, I ordered you to mount 
with me; and this also you thought was the best. 
And now, because others said we were both wrong 
in riding, you concur with them. Such being the 
case, I beg of you to tell me what it is possible to 
do that will not admit of being criticised. We were 
both walking, and they said we were wrong ; I 
walked and you rode, again we erred; then I rode 
on the beast and you walked, this was judged wrong. 
Hence, you see, it is not possible, do what you will, 
to avoid criticism. And this I give you as an 
example, so certain am I that no action, however 
worthy, will be thought well of by all. If the 
action is good, the ill-disposed will find some fault 
with it ; and if it is an evil action, the good must 
certainly condemn it. So while you endeavour 
conscientiously to do your best, still many will speak 


of you and judge your actions according to their 
own views.' 

" And now, Count Lucanor, what is it you 
desire to do and yet fear what the people may 
say, whether you do it or do it not ? Since you 
command me to advise you, my counsel is this, 
before commencing the undertaking, look at the good 
and evil which may follow, taking care that your 
own inclinations do not mislead you ; and seek the 
advice of those who are of sound understanding 
and well informed. If such an adviser is not to be 
met with, take care that you proceed carefully and 
justly, allowing a day and a night to pass before 
carrying out your determination, that is, if time 
permits, carefully avoiding being influenced by the 
feeling of what people might say of you." 

The Count found Patronio's advice good ; and, 
acting accordingly, all ended well. 

And Don Juan, approving of this example, 
ordered it to be written in this book, and composed 
the following lines, which are an abbreviation of the 
whole moral ; and the lines are : 

In thy chosen life's adventure, stedfastly pursue the cause, 
Neither moved by critic's censure, nor the multitude's applause. 


This is a well-known fable in all languages. Although Don 
Manuel's may not be the first, there is yet much that is original 
in its detail. La Fontaine's fable of "The Miller, his Son, 
and the Ass," book the third, fable the first, is preceded by a 


prologue, wherein he tells us that he has taken his subject 
from the life of Malherbe, a writer of the sixteenth century, 
wherein Malherbe represents himself, like Patronio, giving ad- 
vice to Racan, his friend but superior in station, who, like Count 
Lucanor, informs him how undecided he is as to his future 
course of life. The answer given is the fable above named, 
which bears an exact resemblance to Don Manuel's, except 
in the conclusion. The narrative given in this fable first 
reappears in the Turkish romance, entitled, "The Forty 
Viziers," where it figures under the title of "The Gardener, 
his Son, and an Ass." This work belongs to the fifteenth cen- 
tury, and its author acknowledges to have taken his idea from an 
Ejicient Arabian tale, by Cheikh Zade, entitled, " Hikaiat Arbain 
Sebah wantesa," " Forty Mornings and Forty Evenings," which 
latter is derived from the " Book of Sindabah," an Indian 
romance. This last was translated from Sanscrit into Persian, 
from that into Arabic, then into Syriac, then into Hebrew. 
This has served for the Latin work composed towards the end 
of the twelfth or the beginning of the thirteenth century, under 
the title of " Historia Septem Sapientium Romce" by Jehans, a 
monk of Hauteselve, from whence four modern translations 
are extant, amongst them the French one of 1492, whence 
Malherbe doubtless derived the subject. 



Of what a Genovese said to his soul when 
about to die. 

OUNT LUCANOR, conversing one day 
with Patronio, said, "Thank God! I 
feel happy with myself and at peace 
with all the world. Now I am advised 
to undertake a dangerous pilgrimage, and I am 
disposed to follow this advice. Such is my con- 
fidence, however, in you, that before commencing 
the undertaking I desire to have your opinion as 
to its advisability." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " in order to know what 
is most incumbent on you, I should like you to hear 
what happened to a Genovese when communing with 
his soul." 

The Count desired him to relate what that was. 

Patronio replied, " My lord, there was a Genovese 
who was very rich, and highly esteemed by his 
neighbours, who, finding himself at the point of 
death, assembled all his friends and relations, and, as 
soon as they arrived, sent for his wife and children, 
and had himself conveyed to a splendid palace, from 
whence there was a prospect of earth and sea, and 
ordered all his treasures and jewels to be brought 


before him ; and when all were before him, he began 
to speak in a cheerful manner saying, ' My soul, so 
you wish to leave me. I cannot tell why ; if it is 
that you desire wife and children, here they are, 
and such as you ought to be proud of; if it is that 
you long for friends and relations, here they are, 
both good and honourable ; if it is gold and silver, 
precious stones, jewels, and merchandise that you 
desire, you have them here in abundance; if you 
desire vessels and galleys to bring you honour and 
treasures from afar, behold them on the sea ; if you 
desire lands or beautiful gardens, look on them from 
these windows ; if it is horses, and mules, and dogs, 
for hunting or amusement, you wish, or players to 
entertain you ; or if it is luxurious rooms, beds, and 
furniture, or any of the many things that are desir- 
able in this life, of all these you have a super- 
abundance. Since you have all that makes life 
desirable, and are not contented therewith, but seek 
for what you know not, go therefore to God.' 

" And you, my lord, since, thanks be to God ! 
you are at peace happy and honoured, take care 
how you risk your present happiness, in following 
the advice of those who desire only to engage you 
in an undertaking which makes you amenable to 
their wills. They are now submissive to you while 
you are at home and at peace ; but being away, they 
may avail themselves of the opportunity to increase 
their possessions, which they cannot do so long as 
you live peaceably and quietly, corroborating that 


which the Genovese said to his soul. My advice, 
therefore, to you is, so long as you can enjoy peace, 
comfort, and honour, not to risk them by unrequired 

The Count was well pleased with Patronio's 
advice, followed it, and prospered. 

And Don Juan, although liking this moral, did 
not make a verse as usual, but contented himself by 
applying to it the old Castilian proverb of 

u Who is well sitting, let him not rise." 


I believe this to be an original fable, as no source has yet been 
found from which it is supposed to be derived. 

The yearning of the soul after something more enduring than 
worldly treasures has been finely expressed by Don Juan, in 
this chapter. Probably it has even deeper meanings than he 
himself knew. 


What happened to the Crow, with the Fox. 

NOTHER time, Count Lucanor, speak- 
ing with Patronio, said, " A man 
who pretends to be my friend began 
praising me very much, and for the 
regard he has for me desires to conduct a law-suit 


for the obtaining of property which at first sight 
appears to be my right." And the Count related 
the circumstances of the law-suit to Patronio, and 
how advantageous it appeared to him. 

Patronio, seeing the deceit which lay hidden 
under plausible words, said, "Count Lucanor, know 
that this man is deceiving you, wishing to make you 
believe that your power and position is greater than 
it really is ; and in order to avoid falling into this 
snare allow me to tell you what happened to a crow 
with a fox." 

The Count asked what that was. 

" My lord," replied Patronio, " a crow, happening 
to find a large piece of cheese, flew up into a tree, 
in order to eat it without fear or interruption from 
any one. As soon as he had settled there a fox 
passed by at the foot of the tree, and, seeing the 
cheese which the crow held, began to think how he 
could get possession of it. 

" He addressed the crow thus, ' My lord crow, for 
a long time I have heard marvellous tales of your 
nobility and your appearance, and, although I have 
sought you long, it was not the will of Providence 
that I should meet you until to-day, and seeing you 
now, find your merits have been much underrated ; 
and, to convince you I am no flatterer, I will tell you 
my real opinion of your merits, likewise what others 
say of you. People say that the colour of your wings, 
eyes, bill, and claws is approaching to black. Now, 
as a blackish thing is not so becoming as any other, 

THE Fox's FLATTERY. 139 

people make little of your appearance, not seeing 
how they err in doing so. It is true your wings are 
black, but so brilliant that they would shame an 
Indian peacock, the handsomest bird in the world. 
What matter if your eyes are black, since black eyes 
are considered so handsome; and what use is an 
eye unless to see with ; and as everything black is 
most attractive, black eyes are the best those of 
the gazelle being the most admired, and the darkest 
possessed by any animal. Again, your bill, feet, 
and claws are stronger than those of any other bird 
of your size. Your flight also is light, as you can go 
against the strongest wind more easily than any other 
bird.* I hold that God, who does all things well, 
would never allow you to be wanting in any accom- 
plishment, so I cannot believe but that you sing as 
well as any other bird. Now, since God has per- 
mitted me to see you, and I find you so superior to 
anything that has been said of you, only allow me to 
hear you sing and I shall consider myself happy.' 

" Now, my lord, you will observe that the inten- 
tion of the fox was to deceive the crow by flattering 

* The exact contrary, of course, being the case, as a poet 
who has left few appearances of nature unnoticed, has forcibly 
said : 

"To-night the winds begin to .rise, 
And roar from yonder dropping day : 
The last red leaf is whirl'd away, 
Thi rooks are blown about the skies." 

In Memoriam, xv. i. 


him with the appearance of truth ; and be assured 
that the most dangerous and mortal injuries are 
those where deceit most resembles truth. When 
the crow heard how skilfully the fox praised him, 
he believed as truth everything he said, and thought 
him his friend, not suspecting it was all done with 
the object of possessing himself of the cheese he 
held in his bill. Having heard so much, he at last 
yielded to the entreaties of the fox, and, opening his 
bill for the purpose of singing, dropped the cheese, 
which the fox immediately seized and departed. 
Thus the crow was deceived by the fox, believing, 
by his flattery, that he possessed more beauty and 
accomplishments than he really had. 

" And you, Count Lucanor, knowing that Provi- 
dence has been bountiful to you, should see by this 
that the man is endeavouring to make you believe 
that you have more power and are more honoured 
than you know to be the fact. Be on your guard, 
therefore, against his deceit." 

The Count was pleased by what Patronio said, 
took his advice, and so avoided a serious error. 

Don Juan, judging this a very good example, 
ordered it to be written in this book, and composed 
the following verses, which sum up in a few words 
the entire moral of the story, and say as follows : 

Who praises you for what you have not 
Seeks to deprive you of what you have got. 



The outline of this fable will be found in Babrius, i. 77. 


or6/4an rvpbv etoTijKet* 

rvpov 5' 

Hvdif rbv 6pvw ^irdr 

u Kopa, KciXal aoi irrtpvyes, ($^17 yMiviif 

" BTJIJTOS avxnf ortpvov aeroO tf>atveis' 

" 6vvt TT&VTWV Oripluv 

"6 TO'lOS 

(TTo/iaroj Sk rvpbv KJ3a\ui> e 

rbv % aotprj \aj3ovffa 

u oiiK fjffd' &<f>c>)vos," elirev, "dXXi <f>it)Vi]ti$. 

u ?x ety > K t>P a %> airavra' voOs 5e aoi \direi." 

Thus translated by the Rev. James Davies, (p. 68). 

A crow upon his perch was munching cheese, 

When a sly fox, by arguments like these, 

To suit herself, beguiled him of his prize : 

" Fair are thy plumes, good crow, and bright thine eyes, 

" Charming thy neck, an eagle's breast thou hast, 

" In talons thou art by no brute surpass'd. 

" Tis strange that dumb should be a bird so smart 1 " 

The flattered crow became elate in heart, 

And, cawing, from his mouth the cheese let fall ; 

This Reynard snatch'd, and tauntingly did call, 

" Tis true thou wast not dumb, for thou canst speak, 

" Yet, spite of all thou hast, thy mind is weak." 



What happened to the Swallow, with the other birds, 
when he saw the flax sown. 

OUNT LUCANOR, conversing one 
day with Patronio, spoke thus : 

" Patronio, they tell me that my 
more powerful neighbours are plotting 
together and using all their influence to deceive and 
injure me. I do not, however, myself believe it. 
Still, knowing your prudence, I wish to ask you 
what you think I ought to do in this matter." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " in order that you 
may better understand your duty in this case, 
permit me to relate to you what happened to 
the swallow and the other birds." 

The Count requested to be informed what that 
was ; and Patronio spoke thus: 

" My lord, a swallow one day saw a man 
sowing flax, and perceived that if the flax grew 
up men would be enabled with the thread produced 
therefrom to make nets wherewith to catch birds ; 
so when the sowing was completed, this swallow 
assembled all the other birds and informed them how 


the man had sown the flax, also telling them that 
when the seed came to perfection it would probably 
be used to injure them. 

" Now his advice was, that before the seed com- 
menced growing, and while it was not attached to 
the earth, they should root it up and destroy it, as it 
would be very difficult to do so afterwards. 

"The birds thought but little of this advice, 
although he urged it many times, and were not 
disposed to act. Now the flax so grew that the 
birds could not uproot it either with their claws 
or their bills. When the birds found this to be 
the case, they regretted not having taken the advice 
of the swallow to avert the injury now inevitable ; 
but, alas ! it was too late. 

"Now when the swallow saw the birds would 
not assist him to avert the common danger, he went 
to the man, and, placing himself under his protec- 
tion, obtained from him, for himself and his progeny, 
a promise of future security ; and since that time we 
see that the swallows are safe with men, whilst the 
other birds are daily caught in nets. 

"And you, my lord, if you wish to avert the 
danger which you think threatens you, remember 
the saying of the wise man, "when you perceive a 
threatened danger use every precaution to avert it, 
for he is not a sensible man who only sees the 
danger after it has come upon him ; but wise is he 
who by a slight sign or movement forsees the ap- 
proaching evil, and provides against it.' " 


The Count was much pleased with this narrative 
of Patronio's, and, acting according to his advice, 
found it prosper. 

And as Don Juan approved of this example, he 
ordered it to be written in this book, and composed 
the following lines, which say : 

Wouldst thou make sure from danger to escape, 
Then wait not till it take a threatening shape. 


This tale is found in JEsop, and La Fontaine has made it the 
subject of one of his prettiest fables. But there is a point in the 
prose apologue of Don Manuel, and in an apologue in verse 
by his contemporary, Juan Ruiz de Hita, which La Fontaine 
has missed. This lies in the decision of the swallow to seek the 
protection of men and frequent their dwellings. 


Relates what happened to a Man who carried a very 
precious Treasure hung round his neck, and who 
had to pass a River. 

l(c\NE day Count Lucanor said to Pa- 
tronio, " It is requisite that I should 
visit a distant part of the country, 
where I have to receive a large sum 
of money, which I can employ advantageously here, 


and having great fear that in returning I may be 
exposed to much personal danger, I ask for your 
advice how to act." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " in order that you 
may better understand how to act in this emergency, 
allow me to tell you what happened to a man who 
had to convey a treasure across a river, and which 
he carried round his neck." 

The Count desired him to proceed, which Pa- 
tronio did in the following manner: 

" My lord, this man had to pass a very wide and 
muddy river ; and there was no alternative, there 
being neither bridge, nor boat, nor any other means of 
transit, but that of passing through the water. So, 
taking off his shoes, he found that with their weight 
and that of the treasure which he carried it was 
difficult to avoid sinking, the mud increasing as he 
reached the centre of the river. 

"The king, and an attendant who stood on the 
opposite bank, called out to him in a loud voice 
to throw away the load which he carried, otherwise 
he would be lost. 

" The foolish man, little thinking that if he sank 
he would lose not only his treasure but his own life 
also, would not follow the advice given him by the 
king who stood on the opposite shore. As the 
current was very strong and the mud became deeper, 
the man gradually sank until the water reached his 
neck. Endeavouring now to free his feet from the 
mud, he found it impossible ; for, with the weight 



which he carried, he rolled over, sank, and was 

"Thus, from a miserly feeling, he would not 
follow the good advice given him by the king, and 
so lost his own life and the treasure which he 

"Now I advise you, Count Lucanor, let the sum 
be what it may, and the use of it here be ever so 
tempting, take care that avarice does not lead you 
astray, inducing you to risk your own life ; for who- 
ever should do so, setting his own life at small value, 
will certainly not receive the esteem of his fellow- 
men ; unless, indeed, his honour is concerned thereby. 
For a man who sets small value upon his own life, 
and has not self-respect, cannot receive the respect of 
others. For it is certain that a man who properly 
respects himself will never risk his life through 
avarice or trifling causes, but only in defence of his 

And the Count, liking this advice, followed it. 
And Don Juan, admiring the precept, had it written 
in this book, and composed the following verses : 

Who risks his life for greed of pelf 
Can hardly hope to enrich himself. 


We believe this fable to be original, as we do not recollect 
having seen it in any collection. But, whatever may be its 
origin, or the changes that have been rung on it, the moral 
application which follows Patronio's recital assures to Don 
Manuel's production the most distinguished place 



Of what happened to a woman called Truhana. 

OUNT LUCANOR once said to Pa- 
tronio, " A man has unfolded to me a 
scheme, and has shown me the manner 
in which it can be carried out. And I 
assure you that it is in so many ways admirable and 
worthy of approval, that, if heaven blessed me with 
the success it promises, it would be much to my 
advantage ; for so many things spring out of it, the 
one from the other, that in the end it would be a 
very great and noble achievement." He then in- 
formed Patronio of all the particulars. Who, after 
he had heard the Count's arguments, answered him 
thus : 

"My lord, I have always understood that it is 
wisest to adhere to the things which are certain, and 
not be ever running after shadows and vain things, 
lest it happen to you as it did to Truhana." 

The Count desired him to relate this story, which 
Patronio did as follows : 

"A woman named Truhana, who was not very 
rich, went one day to market, carrying on her head 
a jar of honey. Along the road she was calculating 
how she could sell the honey and buy eggs, these 


eggs would produce chickens, and with the produce 
of the sale of these latter she would buy lambs ; and 
in this way was calculating how she would become 
richer than her neighbours, and looked forward with 
anxiety to well marrying her sons and daughters, 
and how she would go through the streets, accom- 
panied by her sons and daughters-in-law, and how 
the people would say what a fortunate woman she 
was to become so rich, having been so very poor. 
Under the influence of these pleasurable thoughts, 
she laughed heartily; when, suddenly striking the 
jar with her hand, it fell to the ground and was 
broken. Seeing this, she was in great grief at being 
so suddenly deprived of all her flattering anticipa- 
tions ; for, having fixed all her thoughts upon an 
illusion, she lost that which was real. 

"And you, my lord, if you allow yourself to 
listen to everything that is proposed to you, so as to 
lose sight of the real and good, you can only blame 
yourself for your failure." 

The Count was much pleased, and followed this 
good advice. And Don Juan, liking the moral, 
wrote, and ordered to be put in this book the fol- 
lowing lines : 

Confine your thoughts to what is real, 
And cease to nurse a vain ideal 


There is scarcely a language in which this fable does not 
appear under some form. It is, however, evidently of Eastern 


origin, as we find in the "Arabian Nights" a tale very similar 
"Alnaschar, the Barber's Brother." The earliest version is 
in the fifth part of the Pantcha Tantra, entitled, "Aparickchita 
Kariteva," or, "Inconsiderate Conduct," the object of which 
is to show the danger of precipitation, and runs as follows: 

An avaricious brahmin, named Soma Sarma, had gathered, 
in charitable offerings, a large jar full of flour. On entering 
his home, he hung the jar upon a nail immediately opposite 
the foot of his bed, so as not to lose sight of it During the 
night he awakened, and abandoned himself to the pleasurable 
reflections of gain, saying, " Now this jar of flour, in case of a 
scarcity, I can sell for at least one hundred pieces of money, 
and with this sum I can buy a ram and a goat; these will 
produce kids, and, selling these, I will purchase a couple of 
cows ; after the sale of the calves I will procure a herd of buf- 
faloes, which will turn out very advantageous and bring me 
considerable sums of money; then I shall have a stud, and 
will sell my horses to great advantage. I will build a fine 
house and become a man of consequence, when some rich and 
honourable man will give me his daughter in marriage, with a 
princely fortune. As I probably shall have a son I will call 
him by my own name, Soma Sarma ; as soon as he can totter I 
will take him on horseback before me on the saddle, so that as 
soon as he sees me he will quit his mother's apron strings and 
come running towards me. I will call his mother to come 
and take him away from me: she, being occupied with the 
household affairs, will not attend to my summons, when I will 
give him a kick." Saying these words, he stretched out his 
foot so violently as to break the jar and upset all the flour about 
the place, where it mingled with the dust and was totally lost ; 
and with it vanished the bright and flattering illusions of Soma 

The name of Truhana in the tale is equivalent to our Ger- 



Of that winch happened to a Man who was suffering 
from a malady and whose liver had to be cleansed. 

MOTHER time, Count Lucanor spoke 
thus to Patronio, saying, " Although 
God has been very bountiful to me 
in many ways, yet I am just now in 
great want of money ; and, although I would almost 
prefer dying to doing it, yet I feel I must be com- 
pelled to sell one of my estates, to which I am much 
attached, or have recourse to some other equally 
ruinous means to free myself from my present em- 
barrassments. I am daily pressed by creditors who 
could well afford to wait. Now, knowing your good 
understanding, I pray you to tell me how I had best 
act under these pressing circumstances." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " you are in much the 
same position with these men as the man was who 
was suffering from a malady." 

" How was that ? " said the Count. 

" Count," said Patronio, " a man was in great pain 
from a disease and was informed by the doctors 
that there was no other remedy than making an 
opening in his side and taking out his liver and 
washing it in certain medicated waters, as it was in 


a very bad state. While he was suffering under 
this operation, and the doctor held the liver in his 
hand, another man who was there demanded a piece 
of the liver for his cat. 

"And you, Count Lucanor, if you desire to pro- 
cure money at a serious injury to yourself to give to 
those who can afford to wait for it, you are certainly 
at liberty to do so if you wish, but you will never do 
it by my advice." 

The Count, being very much pleased by what 
Patronio said, took care to profit by it; and Don 
Juan, liking the moral of the story, requested it 
should be written in this book, and composed these 
lines, which say as follows : 

Know' when to give and when withhold 
Or you may come to want untold. 


Of what happened to a man who through poverty 
and lack of other food, was reduced to eat some 

OUNT LUCANOR, speaking one day 
to Patronio, said, " God has been very 
bountiful to me, in granting me much 
more than I can individually enjoy ; 
yet it sometimes happens that I am so pressed for 


money, that my life is a burden to me. I beg of you 
to direct me in this trouble." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " in order that you 
may better understand how to act under such cir- 
cumstances, I will, with your permission, illustrate 
your position by relating what happened to two rich 

The Count begged he would do so. 

" My lord," said Patronio, " it is said that one of 
these two men became so destitute that he could not 
even procure bread to eat. After begging from door 
to door, until wearied out, all he could procure was 
a handful of dried peas, very hard and bitter. Re- 
membering his former opulence, and seeing himself 
now reduced through hunger to eat these peas, he 
began to cry bitterly. As he ate he threw away the 
pods, when he perceived another man behind him 
eating them. And this is the point to which I 
wish to draw your attention. When he saw the 
man eating the pods, he asked him why he did so. 
' Because,' said this latter, ' though I was once richer 
than you ever were, yet I am now reduced to so 
great a state of poverty and hunger that I am glad 
to eat the pods which you are throwing away.' 

" When the former man saw this, he found there 
was yet another more destitute than himself, and less 
deserving to be so. Seeing this, he directed his 
heart to God and prayed that he might be shown 
how to escape from so much poverty. His prayers 
were heard, and he prospered ever after. 


"And you, my lord, should know such is the 
world, and it is ordained that no condition admits of 
unalloyed happiness. If at any time, as it appears, 
you are distressed for money, do not let discontent 
enter your heart ; but reflect how many men there 
are at the same moment, who have been both 
richer and more honoured than yourself, who would 
be only too glad to occupy what you consider an 
unfortunate position." 

The Count was much pleased with what Patronio 
told him, exerted i himself, and God helped him well 
out of his difficulties. 

And Don Juan, liking the example, had it written 
in this book, and wrote the following lines : 

Let not poverty dismay your mind, 

Since others poorer than yourself you find. 


Without depriving the story of any part of its originality, we 
think the idea was taken from the " Gulistan," of Saadi, chapter 
the I Qth, on the excellence of contentment. It also reminds 
us of an excellent Italian saying : " A man is never so well 
as not to feel he can be better, nor so ill that he cannot be 


What happened to a Cock and a Fox. 

another time Count Lucanor was con- 
versing with Patronio, when he said, 
" ^ ou know, thanks be to God, my 
lands are very large, but are not all 
united, so that I have many places which are very 
strong and some which are not so places which 
are separated a long way from the rest of my estate 
where my power is greatest. And, when I have any 
contention with the neighbouring nobles who are 
more powerful than myself, many who give them- 
selves out for my friends, and others who volunteer 
their counsels, endeavour to terrify me on this score, 
and advise me on no account to go to those distant 
territories, and to keep within my own defences. 
Knowing your loyalty and superior judgment, I beg 
you to advise me how to act in this case." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " it is difficult to ad- 
vise in great and perilous undertakings, as no man 
can be certain of the results ; for how often when 
we think we are acting for the best, things turn out 
unfortunately; while, again, what at another time 
appears to us the greatest misfortune, turns out to 
our best advantage. So a man, even with the best 
intentions, may give advice which may produce 


effects contrary to his previsions. If the advice is 
productive of no good, shame is his portion. In 
asking me to give you advice in so doubtful and 
perilous a position, I must beg you to allow me 
to relate to you what happened to a cock with a 

"My lord," said Patronio, "a good man had a 
house in the mountains, and among other things 
reared a great number of fowls. 

" It happened upon one occasion, that a cock, 
wandering a long way from the house, met a fox, 
whom he no sooner observed than, fearing to be- 
come his prey, he flew up into a tree. The fox, 
seeing the cock in safety, felt very much annoyed at 
having missed his aim. He immediately began to 
consider how he could induce the cock to descend. 
He commenced by begging he would come down 
and continue his country walk. The cock abruptly 
refused him, when the fox, seeing he could not per- 
suade him, began to threaten him, saying, that, as 
he could not trust him, he would find some means 
to catch him. The cock, finding himself in safety, 
laughed equally at his threats and promises. The 
fox, seeing that he could not intimidate the cock, 
began gnawing the tree and striking it with his tail. 
The captive cock, being frightened without reason, 
flew to another tree. The fox, seeing that he had 
alarmed him, continued pursuing him from tree to 
tree, each one taking him farther from home, until at 
last he caught him and eat him. 


" And you, my lord, in your critical position, do 
not let yourself be frightened at imaginary dangers, 
but at the same time be prepared for real ones, 
strengthening the defences of your smaller towns as 
well as the large ones; and believe that no man 
provided as you are with troops and provisions has 
anything to fear behind his own walls. If through 
uncalled-for fears you abandon your most distant 
villages, they will chase you from one to another 
until deprived of all. Even if you or yours show 
the slightest disheartenment it will only serve to 
strengthen your enemies, who, seeing your weak- 
ness, will never lay down their arms while you 
possess an inch of land ; but, if well defended from 
the beginning, like the cock on the first tree, you 
have nothing to fear from all the battering-rams and 
scaling ladders of your enemies. Nay, more, to 
convince you that I speak the truth, it would be 
impossible to find an army sufficiently strong to 
make breaches in, or undermine the walls of so 
many fortified villages. But, my lord, when after 
due consideration you have determined and com- 
menced acting, on no account retract. It is always 
better to face danger than to fly from it, more men 
being lost in retreat than in the battle-field. Like 
a little dog attacking a hound; so long as he remains 
quiet, showing his teeth, he is safe, but once attempt 
to run away and he is lost." 

And the Count, feeling this to be good advice, 
followed it, and was safe. And because Don Juan 


thought this to be a good example, he had it written 
in this book, and composed the following lines : 

Defend thee like a man in proper season, 

But be not frighten'd when there is not reason. 


This fable has nothing in common with that of La Fontaine 
which bears the same title. In the -<Esopian fable, versified by 
the French poet, the cock does not fall a victim to the designs 
of the fox. In Don Manuel's, on the contrary, he becomes, 
after resisting all compliments, a prey to false alarms and want 
of confidence when in actual safety. The moral which Don 
Manuel intended to convey in his fable was not so much to guard 
against the influence of flattery as against false alarms. 

What happened to a Man catching Partridges. 

,OUNT LUCANOR, at another time 
speaking to Patronio, said to him, 
"Some men of high and low position 
cause me and my people a great deal of 
annoyance and injury, but, when appealed to, always 
excuse themselves by expressing regret, and assuring 
me that circumstances only compelled them to act in 
the way they had done, and not their inclination. 
Desiring to know how to act under these circum- 
stances, I beg you to give me your advice." 

"My lord," said Patronio, "in order that you 


should know under these circumstances how best to 
act, I shall feel pleased at being permitted to relate 
to you what happened to a man taking partridges. 

" A man who had spread his net to take par- 
tridges, as soon as he had caught them, commenced 
killing them one by one, and, while so occupied, a 
gust of wind blew so fiercely in his eyes as to cause 
the tears to flow down his cheeks, when one of the 
birds that was still alive in the net said to the others, 
' See, my friends, what pain it causes this good man 
to kill us, for you see it makes him weep.' 

" Another partridge, more knowing, and who had 
avoided falling into the net, replied, ' My friend I 
am very thankful to God for having preserved me 
from falling into the snares of the fowler, and I 
will continue to implore Providence that I and my 
friends may be protected from all those who would 
injure us, excusing themselves by saying that they 
acted under the pressure of circumstances and 
against their inclinations.' 

" And you, Count Lucanor, be on your guard 
against those you see are disposed to injure you 
under the plea that they are sorry for it. But if 
the damage be trifling, and evidently to you unin- 
tentional, and come from a person who has really 
been of service to you, I would advise you to shut 
your eyes and not notice it, unless you clearly see 
that he is taking an undue advantage of your good 
nature : it then becomes incumbent on you to defend 
your fortune and your honour." 


The Count approved of this advice, and Don 
Juan, considering it a good example, ordered it to 
be inserted in this book, and wrote the following 

Who does thce ill and feigns regret, 
Beware of falling in his net. 

And on this matter another verse was made by 
Alfonso, friar of Santiago, which says thus : 

What avail the eyes that water 
If the hands are bent on slaughter. 


The first germ of this fable appears in Indian collections : 
witness Lokman, fable 31. But Don Juan imparted to it an 
entirely new turn and form. The moral with which it winds 
up is essentially Spanish, and the advice given to Count Lucanor 
has every appearance of being addressed to the treacherous 
monarch Alfonso XI. 


Relates to what happened to a Man with his Friend 
who had invited him to dinner. 

OUNT LUCANOR, when conversing 
one day with his counsellor Patronio, 
said, "A man came to me, proposing 
to carry out my views in a matter in 
which I am much interested, but the offer was made 


with so little apparent eagerness that I am inclined 
to think he would be glad not to be taken at his 
word ; and although I am anxious to avail myself of 
it, I am yet disinclined to accept a service so coldly 
offered. What do you think ? Pray give me your 

"Then allow me, my lord," said Patronio, "to 
narrate to you what happened to a man who had 
been invited to dine with his friend. 

" My lord, a man who had been very rich became 
so reduced that he was often in want of the neces- 
saries of life, which, however, he was too proud 
to solicit, preferring to suffer the pangs of hunger to 
the shame of begging his bread. One day, however, 
when very sorely pressed by hunger, having fasted 
very long, he happened to pass the gate of an old 
friend, who was at dinner, and who, seeing him go 
by, invited him, but very coldly, to partake of his 
repast. The hungry man immediately accepted 
the invitation, washed his hands, and sat down to 
table, saying, ' Thanks, my friend ; you have invited 
me in a lucky moment, and so generously that I 
think it unbecoming to refuse you.' 

"As the hungry man gained strength from the 
repast he gradually lost the feeling of shame, and 
God enlightened him as to the manner of freeing 
him from his misery. 

"And you, Count Lucanor, will now understand 
how, as the offer is made and the service required, 
you should accept your friend's proffered assistance 


without hesitation, as it is always better to accept a 
favour if offered, than to ask one." 

And the Count, following this good advice, 
profited thereby. 

And Don Juan, liking the moral, composed 
these lines, to be written with it in this book, 
saying : 

If thou have need, be not too nice ; 
Nor wait for friends to ask thee twice. 

What happened to the Owls and the Crows. 

OUNT LUCANOR, conversing at another 
time with Patronio, said, " There is a 
man of considerable influence with 
whom I am at variance. This man had 
living with him a relation and his servant, to whom 
he was very kind. Lately some difference has 
arisen between this master and his servant; and 
the latter, considering himself ill-used, came to me, 
offering his services in my interests, if I would show 
him how he could be revenged. Having great 
confidence in your advice, I wish you to tell me 
how to act." 

" In the first place," replied Patronio, " believe 



me, this man seeks only to deceive you ; and in 
order that you may better understand how, I will 
tell you what happened to the owls and the crows." 

The Count begged him to do so, when Patronio, 
continuing, said, " My lord, the crows and the owls 
had a great contention, but the crows had the worst 
of it ; for the owls, whose custom it is to rove about 
at night, and hide themselves in eaves during the 
day, which made it difficult to find them, came in 
the night to the trees where the crows lodged, killing 
many of them and doing much injury. 

"Suffering so much in this way, they consulted 
an old crow who was very knowing, relating to him 
the injurious treatment they received from the owls, 
their enemies. 

" He suggested to them this plan of revenge : 
that they should pluck out of him afl his feathers, 
leaving only a few in his wings to enable him to fly 
a little. In this sad state he went to show himself 
to the owls, telling them that the crows had thus 
cruelly treated him, merely because he wished to 
make peace between them, and offered to show them 
how they could be revenged on the crows. 

"When the owls heard this they were much 
pleased, and showed him much endearment, telling 
him all their secrets and intentions. There was one 
aged owl, however, who did not partake in the 
general feeling. Seeing the deceitful intentions of 
the crow, he told his companions not to trust him, as 
he only sought to discover their secrets, and advised 


them to turn him out of their society. But the 
owls, not putting faith in his advice, he left them, 
and sought for hiniy1f another hiding-place, where 
they could not find him. 

"Thus the crow continued to live in confidence 
with the owls until his feathers were sufficiently 
grown to enable him to take a long flight. It was 
then he told the owls he wished to go and see where 
the crows were, in order that they might go with 
him and exterminate them. But he never returned 
until accompanied by all the other crows, whom he 
had informed of all the projects and hiding-places of 
the owls. 

"In this way, the owls being attacked unpre- 
pared, and in the daylight, became easy victims to 
the vengeance of the crows ; all through an unwise 
confidence in a natural enemy. 

"And you, Count Lucanor, must know well that 
this man, being connected with the household of your 
enemy, will be naturally interested in its welfare. 
I would advise you to place no confidence in him, and 
if you do employ him, let it be only where no trust 
is required ; for, be assured, he will deceive you 
and play you false the first opportunity favourable 
to his own interest, and so his proposed treachery to 
his present master will be turned against you." 

The Count followed this advice, which was suc- 
cessful ; and Don Juan, approving of it, had it 
written in this book, and composed the following 


If thou wouldst live securely to the end, 
Distrust a foe who would become a friend. 


This example appears also to have had an Indian origin. It 
is found in the third chapter of "Pantcha Tantra," under the 
title of " Kakoloukika," or "The War between the Crows 
and the Owls." Loiseleur des Longchamps, in his essay on 
Indian fables, gives the following analysis of this tale: 
"The moral of this story is to show the danger of trusting to 
strangers or enemies who come under the mask of friendship. 
The king of the crows, jealous of the king of the owls, forms 
the project of destroying his enemies, and to succeed more 
securely therein, charges one of his ministers to introduce him- 
self among the owls. He succeeds in his project by a ruse 
which recalls the history of Zopyrus. Stripped of his plumes 
and covered with blood, he is found, lying at the foot of a tree, 
by the owls, who take him to their king. The new-comer 
gains the confidence of the king of the owls, against the advice 
of his ministers. He betrays their confidence, and shows 
the crows how they can destroy their enemies, who are suf- 
focated in the eaves which serve them as a hiding-place." 

I6 5 


The advice which Patronio gave to Count Lucanor, 
when he said he wished to enjoy himself, illustrated 
by the example of that which happened to the 

OUNT LUCANOR, speaking one day 
with Patronio, said to him, "Thanks 
be to God, my friend, I am now rich 
enough, and am advised by my friends 
to give myself no more anxiety about the concerns 
of this world, but, as I am in a position to do so, 
to eat, drink, and enjoy myself; which I can do 
without infringing on the interests of my children. 
Having a high opinion of your judgment, I would 
first seek your advice before acting." 

" My lord," said Patronio, "although it is pleasant 
enough to live for one's own enjoyment, yet it is first 
advisable that you should hear what the ants did for 
their own support." 

" Willingly," said the Count. 
"My lord, seeing what a little thing the ant is, 
you might be led to suppose it is possessed of little un- 
derstanding ; but remark, how in the harvest season 
they quit their ant-hills, go to the fields, and return 
laden with as much corn as they are able to carry, 


which they deposit in their granaries, to be taken out 
when the first rain falls. It is supposed they do this 
to dry it, but that is not the case, as the ants also 
take the corn out at the beginning of winter, when 
there is little or no sun to dry it. But were they to 
take it out every time it rained their labour would 
be incessant. The reason why they bring out their 
corn after the first rain is that they find it begin to 
grow, when it would take up so much room in their 
granaries that, instead of supporting, it would suffo- 
cate them. So they eat the dry grain, leaving the 
other to ferment outside ; and, knowing that this fer- 
mentation lasts only a short time, they have no fear 
in doing so of losing their provisions. Nevertheless, 
during all this time, they do not cease adding to 
their stores, either from a dislike to idleness, or an 
unwillingness to despise the gifts of Providence. 

" And how can you, Count Lucanor seeing the 
prudent foresight and economy displayed by the little 
ant, in providing for his own wants charged, as you 
are, with the care of a large property, and respon- 
sible for the well-being of so many of your fellow- 
creatures, think only of living in idleness and ease, 
which shows a littleness of spirit ; forgetting also, 
that by constant expenditure, with no regard to the 
augmentation of your means, you must ultimately 
bring yourself to ruin ? My advice to you is, enjoy 
yourself as much as you like, but do not do so at the 
expense of your honour and fortune. Be you ever 
so rich, you will never lack occasions to increase the 


lustre of your name and enhance the happiness of 
your fellow-men." 

The Count was much pleased with the advice 
given by Patronio, and acted upon it. 

And as Don Juan found this also a good example, 
he ordered it to be written in this book, with these 
lines : 

Let not thy lavish hand expend thy hard-earned gains, 
Live so that honour'd life and death reward thy paius. 


The advice which Don Manuel gives us in his fable, when 
he introduces the ants, is more noble than that of La Fontaine, in 
whose fables we find three examples where the ant is introduced. 
The one most resembling Don Manuel's is "The Ant and the 
Grasshopper," indeed this is an exact transcript inverse of ^sop's 
fable bearing the same name, both inculcating industry, and re- 
proving a life of sensuality and pleasure. 

The industry and foresight of the ant have been alluded to by the 
great Eastern philosopher in the following well-known passage : 
" Go to the ant, thou sluggard ; consider her ways, and be wise. 
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in 
the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." Proverbs of 
Solomon vi. 6-8. 



Of that which happened to a good Man and his Son, 
who boasted of having many Friends. 

! PEAKING again, on another occasion, 
Count Lucanor said to Patronio, " I 
have, as you know, many friends. 
Well, they give me to understand that 
they are all most sincerely devoted to my interests, 
and that, happen what may, nothing shall induce 
them to desert me. Now tell me, I pray you, what 
is your opinion as to how far I may depend upon 
their sincerity and trust them ? " 

" My lord," said Patronio, " good friends are the 
best things this world has to give. I always, how- 
ever, feel some doubt of the sincerity of him who 
makes great professions, and wait for an opportunity 
to prove the value of his declarations. But that you 
may know how to judge a real friend, hear, I pray 
you, what happened to a good man and his son, who 
told him he had many friends." 

" Willingly," said the Count. 

"My lord, a good man had a son, whom he 
advised, among other things, to always endeavour 
to make many good friends. 

"In compliance with this advice, he liberally 


dispensed his goods amongst many men, with the 
view of cultivating their friendship, and these vowed 
to him their readiness to risk their souls and bodies 
in his service. 

"One day the father inquired of the son how he 
progressed in the cultivation of his friendships. 

" ' I have many friends/ replied the son, ' and 
amongst them I am certain of ten who would lay 
down their lives in my service, and who now only 
want an opportunity to prove their sincerity.' 

"The father marvelled much at this, and could 
not conceive how his son, in so short a time, had 
made so many and such friends ; for, in the course 
of his long life, he had never been able to make more 
than one friend and a half. 

"The son did not like his father's questioning 
the truth of His statement, and insisted that what he 
said was true. 

" ' Try them, then,' said the father, ' and in this 
manner. Kill a pig and put it into a sack, and carry 
it to the house of one of these friends, telling him it 
is a man you have slain, that you are in great dread 
of its being discovered, and, as it is quite certain that 
neither you nor those in any way cognisant of the 
fact can escape the death which awaits such a deed, 
beseech him, as a friend, to conceal the bad action, 
and, if need be, to help you in your defence.' 

" In this way the son did as the father suggested, 
visiting each friend in turn. All alike told him that, 
under any other circumstances, they were willing to 


make any sacrifice for him, but in this case they 
were afraid to venture, and besought him for the 
love of God to tell no one he had been to their house. 
Some went so far as to tell him they should never 
help him more, but they would pray for him ; others 
said they would not forsake him on the scaffold, and 
would procure him honourable burial 

"When the young man had thus proved his 
friends, and could find none to assist him, he 
returned to his father and told him what had 

" ' You now see,' said the father, ' that those who 
have lived longest know best how difficult it is to 
procure a sincere friend. As I said to you before, I 
have only one friend and a half; go, try this 

" The young man did so. Arriving at the house 
of this half-friend late at night, carrying the dead 
pig on his shoulders, he knocked at the door, and 
told him of his misfortunes, and how he had been 
treated by his friends, begging of him for the love he 
bore his father to help him. 

" The half-friend told him that, although between 
them there existed neither love nor friendship, yet, 
for his father's sake he would conceal him. He then 
took the sack carefully from the shoulders of the 
son, thinking it contained a dead man, and conveyed 
it into his garden, where he buried it amongst the 
cabbages, carefully arranging them afterwards, and 
then sent away the young man contented. 


"When this latter came home to his father, he 
related all that had happened. 

" ' So far good,' said the father ; ' now when next 
you meet this man dispute with him so as to lead to 
a quarrel, then strike him a blow on the face.' 

" This the young man did ; and when he had 
struck the blow, the half-friend said, ' My son, you 
act badly; nevertheless, I shall never reveal the 
secret which is between us.' 

"And when the young man told this to his 
father he sent him to try his other friend. When 
he arrived at the house of his friend, and had told 
him, as before, all that had happened, he promised 
to guard him from death and danger. 

" Now it came to pass that about this time a man 
had in reality been killed in the city, but no one 
knew by whom, and as the young man had been 
noticed going about at night, carrying a loaded 
sack, he was immediately suspected, judged, and 
sentenced to death. The friend of his father, seeing 
no possibility of his escape, determined to sacrifice 
his own son in the stead of his friend's, and went 
to the judge, saying he knew the prisoner was not 
guilty, as it was his own and only son who com- 
mitted the deed the son acknowledging what the 
father had said, and thus, by his own death, saving 
the life of the son of his father's friend. 

" And now, Count Lucanor, having told you how 
friends are proved, I hold this for a good example to 
find out who are indeed your friends, and how to 


know if they will risk danger in your defence. There 
may be many good friends, 'but there are many who 
cannot be depended upon in adversity, for friends 
too often only grow with good fortune. 

" Again, this example may be taken in a spiritual 
sense, in this manner : although men may think 
they have many friends, yet, when on the point of 
death they are often destined to see the vanity of 
worldly friendship in the professions of friends, who 
say that they are willing but cannot help them ; and 
of the clergy, who can only say they will pray to 
God for them. The wife and children may express 
their readiness to go with them to the tomb, or 
promise a sumptuous interment ; nevertheless, none 
aid them to escape death, as did the son of the 
good man, who gave his life to save his friend. 
The dying man finds he must turn to God as his 
only resource. 

" Now the sinner, seeing he cannot escape the 
death of his soul, unless he turns to God, who like 
a merciful Father and true Friend, remembering the 
love which He bears to man, the work of His hands 
like the good friend, sent His own Son, Christ 
Jesus, to suffer and die, He being innocent, to 
redeem sinful man. So did Jesus, like an obedient 
son, do His Father's will. He, being true God and 
true Man, sought and suffered death, and redeemed 
sinners by His blood. 

"And now, Count Lucanor, it is desirable that 
you reflect and find out which of these friends is 


best and truest, and whose friendship is most worthy 
of confidence." 

The Count was much moved by this exhortation, 
and acted with advantage upon its suggestions. 

And Don Juan, liking so good an example, caused 
it to be written in this book, and composed the 
following lines : 

Never can man find out a friend so good 

As God, who sought to save him by His blood. 


This graphically written tale, which is intended to show the 
difficulty of acquiring a true friend, is of early date, its invention 
not being due to Don Manuel There is but little doubt of its 
being of Arabic or eastern origin. We first find it in a work 
entitled, " Disciplina Clericalis," written by Pedro Alfonso, who 
originally was a converted Jewish rabbi named Moses Sephardi, 
born in the year 1062, at Huesca, in the kingdom of Arragon. 
He was a man of much learning ; and at the age of forty-four 
embraced Christianity, when he was appointed by Alphonso XV., 
king of Castile and Leon, physician to his palace. The tale 
alluded to in this work is the " Lesson given by a Father to 
his Son," and commences, "Arabs moriturus," "An Arab dying." 
We find some of the fables from this "Disciplina Clericalis" in 
the "Arabian Nights;" indeed, this narrative, in various forms, 
has been translated into all languages. The French have many 
versions of this tale ; it has been published in Germany, in the 
"Imitations of Oriental Tales," by Herder; and we see it in 
Boccaccio, the tenth day, eighth novel. 

The scarcity of true friends, a truth so generally accepted, is 
noticed in an old collection of Greek fables, where a friend of 
Socrates remonstrating with him for building so small a house, 


the philosopher replied that, "Little as it is, he were a happy man 
that had but true friends enough to fill it." The allusions made 
by our English writers to pretended friendships are too well 
known to render any mention of them necessary, yet I cannot 
but remark that it forms the subject of one of Gay's best fables, 
" The Hare with many Friends." 


Relates to what happened to the Lion and the Bull. 

>T another time, when Count Lucanor was 
conversing with Patronio, he said to 
him, " Patronio, I have a very powerful 
and honourable friend, of whom, up to 
this time, I have never had occasion to complain ; 
but now, from various circumstances which have 
occurred, it is clear to me that he is not so well- 
disposed towards me as before, and he appears to 
be seeking for an opportunity to quarrel with me, 
from whence I see two causes of uneasiness : the 
one is, that if he openly declares himself my enemy 
it will cause me serious injury ; the other is, if he 
suspects that I mistrust him he will in turn lose 
confidence in me, and thus, this feeling increasing by 
degrees, will bring about an open rupture. Knowing 


your great prudence and foresight, I beg of you to 
advise me how to act under these circumstances." 

" My lord/' said Patronio, " that you know how 
to protect yourself I have no doubt ; I shall tell you, 
however, what happened to the lion and the bull, to 
illustrate your present situation. 

" The lion and the bull were very great friends ; 
being both powerful and strong they lorded it over 
all the other animals ; so the lion, with the help of 
the bull, drove off all carnivorous animals, and the 
bull, with the aid of the lion, drove away all other 
animals that ate grass. 

" The animals, seeing how the combined influence 
of the lion and the bull caused them so much injury, 
consulted together how best to free themselves 
from this strait. With that view they resolved to 
cause, if possible, some ill-feeling or want of trust 
between them ; and, knowing that the fox and the 
sheep were most in the confidence of their enemies, 
desired to bring them over to their cause, succeeding 
in which, the fox, who was the lion's counsellor, 
commenced by telling the bear that he was the 
strongest of all the carnivorous animals after the lion, 
and induced him to insinuate to the lion that the 
bull was playing him false, assuring him that he had 
spoken something unfavourable of him some few 
days since. The sheep also, who was the adviser 
of the bull, induced the horse, the most powerful of 
all graminivorous animals after the bull, to cause 
the bull to doubt the friendship of the lion. 


" Now neither the bull nor the lion believed 
exactly what the bear and the horse had told them, 
although they were ranked next to themselves, yet 
the mutual confidence which previously existed was 
shaken, they became more distant, trusting more 
to their respective counsellors ; which the other 
animals seeing, spoke out more boldly, and said the 
lion and the bull were jealous of each other, and felt 
in their hearts unfriendly. 

" Now the fox and the sheep, thinking only of 
their own interests and future safety, took no trouble 
to undeceive their lords, so that the love and friend- 
ship which previously existed between them turned 
to distrust and hatred. The other animals, seeing 
this, united together to increase the ill-feeling which 
now existed between the lion and the bull. The 
result in the end was, that they found themselves 
deprived of the power which they enjoyed when 
united, and were subjected to the insults of the 
combined animals, who, now acting together, would 
not allow themselves to be again subjected to the 
dominion of their former lords, who found out, but 
too late, that they were the victims of calumny. 

" And you, my lord, take care, that those who 
would create hi your mind suspicions against your 
friends do not lead you into trouble, as did the 
animals the lion and the bull. Now I would advise 
you, if you have always found your friend loyal and 
true, to trust in him as you would in a good son or 
brother. Shut your eyes to trifling circumstances, 


for, be assured, if he intends doing you a serious 
injury, you will always see some indications of it 
beforehand. If your friend be merely a time- 
server, carefully avoid giving him cause to believe 
that you suspect him; but, if once you find that 
his dishonourable intentions admit of no doubt, then, 
instead of quarrelling with him, endeavour first to 
persuade him not to desert you and forfeit your 
friendship endeavour to convince him that mutual 
harmony is essential to the well-being of both. By 
these means, and by not allowing yourself to be led 
away by false representations, you will avoid falling 
into the error of the lion and the bulL" 

The Count was well pleased with what Patronio 
had related. And Don Juan, approving of this 
example, caused it to be inscribed in this book, and 
composed the following lines : 

To lying slanders ne'er attend 
Against a tried and proven friend. 


This apologue, like many others written at the same period, 
has not only a general but also a political moral. It warns us 
against losing our friends by the misrepresentations of others, 
as also it cautions those in power against that treason and 
perfidy which would divide them from their allies and most 
sincere dependants. 

"This tale is very ancient; it is found in the Sanscrit work 
"Pantcha Tantra," the first chapter of which is entitled 
" Mitra-Bheda," or "The Rupture of Friendship," The 



personages of this Indian apologue figure as the king lion, 
Pingalaca ; the bull and his friend, Sandjivaca. The confi- 
dants of the lion and the bull are two jackals, named Carataca 
and Damanaca. In this case, the two jackals, jealous of the 
friendship existing between the lion and the bull, unite, and, by 
misrepresentations, endeavour to destroy this amity. Differing 
from Don Manuel's tale this results only in the death of the 
favourite by his master. 


Relates to the advice which Patronio gave to Count 
Lucanor, when he expressed a desire to obtain a 
good reputation; and the example was what 
happened to a Philosopher who was suffering from 
a severe illness. 

'ATRONIO," said Count Lucanor, " the 
thing a man should most desire to 
acquire in this world is a good repu- 
tation, and, having gained it, to be 
ever watchful, lest it be sullied by any act of his 
own or others. As I know that no one can counsel 
me better than you, I beg of you to advise how best 
to increase and guard my good name." 

"My lord," said Patronio, "it will afford me 
great pleasure to give you my opinion, and illustrate 
it by what happened to an aged philosopher." 


The Count expressing a desire to know what 
that was, Patronio commenced by saying, "A well- 
known philosopher lived once in a town in the 
kingdom of Morocco, who suffered from an ailment 
affecting his sight. His physicians forbade his leav- 
ing the house, and ordered him not to expose his 
eyes too much to the light. 

" One day, however, thinking his sight sufficiently 
restored, he ventured to walk alone into the town, 
where he had many disciples, but the glare of day 
so increased his defect of vision that he accidentally 
strayed into a narrow street close at hand, and which 
happened to be one inhabited by most disreputable 
characters, of which fact he was not aware; but, 
being seen issuing therefrom by some of his friends 
and disciples, he was immediately suspected of having 
belied in a moment all his former virtuous life and 

"So it is that men occupying certain positions are 
judged without pity, their slightest failings being 
criticised ; whilst others, whose position calls for but 
little attention, appear to escape notice, although 
guilty of much greater errors. So it was with the 
philosopher, against whom a general outcry was 
raised. When he arrived at his house, he was 
waited upon by many of his disciples, who in great 
grief demanded why he should have so sacrificed his 
former reputation, bringing scandal on himself and 
them likewise. 

"When the philosopher heard this he was 


astounded, and demanded to know what evil he 
had done, and where. 

" They replied that he had been publicly seen 
to leave the street occupied only by disreputable 

"When the philosopher heard this he was in 
great trouble, and said to his disciples, ' Do not be 
uneasy; I will give you an answer in eight days.' 
And, shutting himself up in his study, he composed 
a very good and useful little book, in the form of 
questions and answers between him and two of his 
disciples, on good and bad fortune. ' My sons/ said 
he, ' good fortune often comes to us unsought as well 
as sought, and, unfortunately, the world is too apt to 
judge from the result of an action, being unconscious 
of the motive which guided it; so also we find 
men without ability or energy blessed by good for- 
tune undeserved ; whilst others, more really meri- 
torious, meet only with misfortune. Again, disasters 
are not always of our own seeking, as a man 
may, in the street, unintentionally have his head 
broken by a stone thrown at a bird: this accident is 
not of his own seeking, but the result of ill chance. 
Know, my sons, both in good and ill fortune two 
things are necessary ; the one is, that we should 
thank God for the good we have received and the 
evil we have been enabled to avoid, the other is that 
rarely or never does any good action pass without 
its reward, as evil deeds also bear their penalty. 
Again, we should ever pray to God to deliver us 


from evil and false judgment, as happened to me the 
other day, when, through the infirmity of a bodily 
ailment, I, without harm in thought or deed, un- 
knowingly entered a street of ill fame, and thereby 
forfeited my good reputation.' 

"And you, Count Lucanor, in order to increase 
and perpetuate your reputation, three things are 
essential ; firstly, let your good actions be done solely 
with the motive of pleasing God, regardless of the 
opinion of mankind, keeping unsullied your honour 
and position, seeking not fame undeserved by good 
works ; secondly, pray to God to strengthen you, 
and inspire you to perform such good actions and 
from a motive so pure as will even gain for you the 
esteem of all good men ; thirdly, never by word or 
deed, give cause for a shadow of suspicion to rest on 
you, as the world is too apt to misconstrue and mis- 
judge the best intentions. Still, ever remember that 
the only infallible judge of your actions is God and 
your own conscience." 

The Count thought this good advice, and prayed 
to God to help him so to act as to save his soul and 
increase his honour. 

And Don Juan, finding it a good example, had 
it written in this book, and made the following 
lines : 

Let all thy acts be clear of blame, 
That slander breathe not on thy fame 



Of what happened to a man who was made Governor 
of a large territory. 

|OUNT LUCANOR, speaking another 
time with Patronio, said, " Patronio, 
many tell me that, being very powerful 
and much honoured, there now only 
remains for me one thing which is most essential, 
and that is to acquire riches. And, as I know that 
you have always advised me for the best, and that 
you will still continue to do so, I beg of you to tell 
me what is most incumbent on me." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " the advice which you 
require of me demands grave consideration, for 
two reasons. Firstly, that my ideas may be appa- 
rently contrary to your interest ; and, secondly, it is 
difficult for me to give advice having the semblance 
of indifference. Nevertheless, as all loyal advice is 
meant only to benefit those to whom it is given, I 
will tell you honestly and without flattery what I 
think, seeking only your well-being. Now there is 
much truth and much falsehood in what has been 
told you ; to convince you of which I have only to 
relate what happened to a man who had been made 
governor of a large territory." 


The Count asked him what that was. 

" My lord," replied Patronio, " it was customary 
in a certain territory to elect every year a governor, 
who, during the twelve months that his command 
lasted, was implicitly obeyed, and treated with all 
due reverence ; but, at the expiration of the year, 
he was deprived of his command, position, and 
everything, even to his clothes, and left to perish in 
a desolate island. It once happened that a man 
who was so appointed, having more foresight and a 
clearer understanding, and knowing that they would 
treat him in the same manner as his predecessors, 
prepared beforehand for what he knew would 
inevitably happen. During the year of his supreme 
command, he ordered a house to be secretly built on 
the island where he knew he was to be placed, and 
had it furnished and provisioned so as to leave him 
in no want of the comforts and necessaries of life, 
and arranged with his friends and relations that they 
should send him anything he might have forgotten. 
When the year of his command was completed and 
he was left, like the previous governors, naked to 
perish on the island, he quietly sought his secret 
abode, where he lived to enjoy the advantage of his 

" And you, Count Lucanor, if you wish to be 
well-advised, remember that you are not destined to 
live here for ever ; the day will assuredly arrive 
when you must leave this world naked as you came 
into it, taking nothing with you ; all that remains to 


you are the good or bad deeds you may have 
performed. Take care, therefore, so to act as to 
procure for your soul a happy abode in the kingdom 
where life is counted not by years, but is everlasting ; 
remembering that your soul is not mortal, and can 
never perish, and that your good or evil acl- ,-ns in 
this world will be rewarded or punished in the next 
according to their deserts. I advise you, therefore, 
never to forget that power, honour, and riches are 
perishable, and how unwise it is to sacrifice to them 
the certainty of eternal life. And again, seek not to 
exalt yourself by publishing your good works before 
men. At the same time, let your actions be such as 
to deserve the prayers of your friends, when you 
are no longer able to intercede for yourself. Yet, 
when you have duly provided for the future happi- 
ness of your soul, when your duties here on earth 
are accomplished, you may look for the promotion 
of your honour and prosperity in this world." 

And the Count, finding this very good advice, 
prayed to God to help him to put it into practice. 

And Don Juan, approving of it also, caused it to 
be inscribed in this book, and composed the follow- 
ing verses : 

In quest of this world's fleeting pleasure, 
Lose not the more enduring treasure. 



We find in the "Imitations of Oriental Tales," by Herder, 
a similar story to the above, called, "The Desert Island," but 
the religious allegory is not reproduced in the German work. 
This beautiful production remains a monument to the Spanish 
moralist who has succeeded in raising this fable and some others 
to the rank of an evangelical parable. 

Herder's version of "The Cid," which was long a bone of 
contention among critics some saying he had naturalised these 
grand old ballads into German, others that he had distorted and 
disfigured them has lately been discovered to be a literal trans- 
lation of a French prose version. 


Of that which happened to Good and Evil, illustrated 
by what occurred to a Man with a Madman. 

day Count Lucanor said to Patronio, 
" I happen to have two neighbours ; one 
is a man whom I love very much, and 
with whom I have much sympathy; 
nevertheless, he does things at times which cause 
me much annoyance. Now, with the other man, I 
have no friendship, although I have often occasion 
to be grateful to him. This latter also at times, by 
his proceedings, gives me some trouble. Now, will 
you advise me, with your usual good sense, how to 
manage these two men ? " 

" Count Lucanor," said Patronio, " what you tell 


me is not one thing alone, but two things one 
being very distinct from the other ; and I will, 
with your permission, exemplify to you, by two 
narratives, how -you should act under these cir- 

The Count agreeing to this, Patronio said as 
follows : 

" Good and Evil agreed once to live together, 
and Evil, who was soon found to be cunning 
and rebellious, always seeking some deception or 
mischief, proposed to Good to purchase a flock of 
sheep wherewith to maintain themselves. Good, 
being naturally peaceable and accommodating, agreed. 
When the sheep had brought forth their young, Evil 
proposed to Good to shear them ; to this, the latter, 
not agreeing, requested Evil to act upon his own 
responsibility. Now, as Evil is always ill-disposed 
and seeking mischief, this sanction pleased him very 
much, so he proposed to Good to retain for his 
share the young lambkins and rear them, whilst he, 
Evil, would reserve for himself the milk and the 
wool of the sheep. To this Good assented without 
complaining. Evil now proposed that they should 
rear pigs. To this Good agreed as before. This 
time Evil, pretending to great ideas of justice, 
proposed that as Good had on a former occasion 
taken the young lambkins, and he, Evil, the wool 
and milk of the sheep, they should this time reverse 
it, he now taking the little pigs, and Good the milk 
and wool. 


"Again, Evil proposed that they should have a 
kitchen-garden, in which they cultivated turnips; 
when these had come to perfection, Evil said to 
Good, as it was difficult to judge the value of what 
could not be seen, that Good should take the leaves 
and he would be contented with what was buried 
in the earth ; and so he did. Again, they planted 
cabbages, and, when these had grown, Evil said to 
Good that in justice Good should take this time 
what was under the earth, and he would take what 
appeared above it. 

" Now Evil thought it would be convenient to 
have a woman for their household service, and, 
Good agreeing with him, Evil proposed that Good 
should have for his share of the servant from the 
waist upwards, that being the superior and most 
useful part of the body, whilst he, Evil, would con- 
tent himself with the inferior half, or, from the 
waist downwards. Good, who desired nothing 
better than the help of two strong arms for the 
work of the house, was perfectly satisfied with this 
arrangement, but, as the woman thus became the 
wife of Evil, she had a son. Now, when she wished 
to nourish her child, Good resolutely opposed her 
doing so, saying, that the milk belonged to him. 

"When Evil found he had a son he was much 
pleased, but, on hearing the child cry very much, 
inquired of the woman why it was so uneasy. To 
which she replied that it was for want of nourish- 
ment ; and, hearing this, Evil told her to give the 


child the food it required. But she said to him 
that Good had strictly forbidden her to do so, as 
the milk belonged to him, it being his share. 

" Now Evil went to Good and told him he should 
insist on having the milk given to his son. To 
which Good simply replied that, as the milk be- 
longed to his share, he would never consent. 

" Hearing this, Evil became incensed, and Good, 
seeing him in this great strait, quietly answered, 
' My friend, surely you did not believe me so foolish 
as not to have seen how cunningly and for your 
own exclusive interest you have heretofore divided 
matters between us. You never considered my 
wants or necessities, so you should not now feel 
any surprise that when you require my assistance 
I am unwilling to grant it. This will serve to 
remind you of all you made me suffer.' 

"Now, whether it was that Evil felt the truth 
of what Good had said, or that he feared to lose 
his son through hunger, he prayed of Good that, 
for the love of God, he would take compassion on 
the innocent child, and not condemn him to suffer 
thus for his father's faults, promising that hence- 
forward he would always do all Good should require 
of him ; and Good, hearing this, praised God, who 
in His mercy had thus permitted him to bring good 
out of evil, and replied to Evil that he would agree 
to the woman's nourishing the child, on condition 
that the father should take the child in his arms, 
and go through the streets of the city, and proclaim 


aloud that Good had conquered Evil without depart- 
ing from the paths of virtue. 

" To this Evil consented, too glad, at any sacri- 
fice, to be able to save the life of his son; and 
hence we know that good has ever conquered evil 
with good. 

" But it happened otherwise with the good man 
and the madman. Now it chanced that a good 
man kept some baths, and a neighbour, a madman, 
was the first to come daily to this bath ; afterwards 
awaiting the arrival of the people to bathe, he com- 
menced, as soon as he saw them, to beat them with 
sticks or throw stones at them, so that the pro- 
prietor of the baths soon lost all his customers. 
The good man, seeing this, determined to rise very 
early one day, undressed himself, and went into the 
bath before the madman arrived, having at hand a 
pail full of very hot water and a wooden club. 
When the madman came to the bath, determined, 
as usual, to attack all who came in his way, the 
good man, seeing him enter, allowed him to ap- 
proach, when he suddenly upset the pail of hot 
water over his head, attacking him at the same time 
with the club. The madman now gave himself up 
for dead ; nevertheless, he managed to escape, and, 
running away, he told everyone he met to be care- 
ful, for there was a madman in the bath. 

"And you, Count Lucanor, since chance has 
given you two neighbours who may occasionally 
abuse your friendship, yet be friendly with them ; 


heed not their small faults, and give them to under- 
stand you seek not revenge, but desire to act kindly 
towards them, helping them in their necessities, 
showing them that, though you need not their good 
services, yet you desii ; their friendship and esteem, 
not as an obligation but through good will." 

The Count, liking this advice, followed it with 
success. And Don Juan, taking this to be a good 
example, ordered it to be written in this book, and 
composed the following lines : 

The evil man must be withstood, 
Till evil be o'ercome with good. 


Don Manuel, in illustrating, as we see in this apologue, that 
good arises out of evil, had a more enlightened and philosophical 
view of the subject than he was probably aware of. 

In this chapter we have two examples, but La Fontaine, who 
was only acquainted with the first part, as he found it in Rabelais, 
has made the former the subject of one of his least commendable 
tales. Had he been able to read Don Manuel's apologue in its 
integrity, he would doubtless have constructed from it a fable 
more edifying. 


Of the association between Truth and Falsehood. 

OUNT LUCANOR, speaking with Patro- 
nio, said to him as follows : 

" Know, Patronio, that I am in 
great trouble and confusion, in conse- 
quence of some men who, having no regard for me, 
take every opportunity, by treachery and lying, to 
injure my reputation, never failing, at the same time, 
to turn these lies to their own advantage. It is true 
I could retaliate upon them in the same manner, but 
I have such a hatred of deception and lying that I 
cannot allow myself to adopt the same line of con- 
duct, I beg, therefore, you will advise me how best 
to deal with these men." 

" Count Lucanor," said Patronio, " Falsehood and 
Truth once entered into an agreement to keep com- 
pany together. After a time Falsehood proposed to 
Truth that they should plant a tree, so that when it 
was very hot they might enjoy the shade thereof, to 
which Truth, being always straightforward, agreed. 
As soon as the tree had taken root and begun to 
show signs of life, Falsehood proposed to Truth that, 
to avoid disputation each should take a portion of 


the tree as his own ; Falsehood at the same time, 
suggesting that Truth should take the root, giving as 
a reason with much colouring and argument, that 
it was the most desirable part; 'For,' said he, 'it 
is well protected by the earth, while the part out 
of the ground is liable to be damaged and even 
destroyed by evil-disposed men cutting it down, to 
be gnawed by beasts, or injured by birds with their 
claws and beaks ; the great heat may dry it up, or 
the frost destroy it, but from all these dangers the 
root is protected.' 

"When Truth heard all these reasons, being con- 
fiding by nature, and believing all she heard to be 
true, she accepted the offer made by Falsehood, 
thanking him for his consideration. 

" Falsehood was greatly pleased at the success of 
his deception and coloured representations. 

"Truth, having accepted the root of the tree as 
her portion, had to reside there, under the earth; 
while Falsehood remained above, taking up his abode 
amongst men and things, where he prospered. 

"The tree began to grow, throwing out branches 
well covered with leaves and flowers of brilliant and 
attractive colours, giving altogether a most delightful 
shade and protection from the heat. When the 
people saw this they sought the shade of the tree of 
Falsehood, so that it became the resort of all the idle 
and others from the villages round, who sought its 
protection, and were there taught by Falsehood the 
art of deception and untruthfulness. In this manner, 


he taught some the art of telling the lie simple, as 
making promises, saying, ' Dear sir, I will do so and 
so, never intending, at the same time, to do it. To 
others, the lie double, as swearing homage and pro- 
mise of service, knowing at the time that they are 
uttering a falsehood, and practising deception. Also 
the lie malicious, which is the most fatal of all, as it 
is falsehood and deceit under the colour of truth. In 
this art Falsehood was very learned, and so skilfully 
did he convey his instruction to all those who took 
shelter under his tree, that there was scarcely a man 
who was not an adept in this art; so attractive, 
indeed, was this to the people, either from the beauty 
of the tree or the protection which it afforded, that 
nearly every one became subservient to this master, 
so that, in the end, people who were really honest 
scarcely dared to speak the truth or esteem themselves. 

" Now Falsehood, finding himself so flattered and 
honoured, began to despise Truth, who still remained 
hidden under the earth, so that no man living knew 
where to find her, or thought of seeking for her. 

" Truth, finding in the end that she had nothing 
but the roots of the tree apportioned to her by 
Falsehood, began gnawing and tearing them ; and 
although the tree had, as before mentioned, fine 
branches, luxuriant foliage, and brilliant flowers 
affording a grateful shade, with every promise still 
it perished without bearing fruit, from Truth eating 
the root thereof. 

"One day, when Falsehood and his disciples 



were quietly reposing beneath the shade of his 
tree, a gust of wind blew it down, the root thereof 
being destroyed, and, falling on Falsehood, it 
seriously injured him, besides wounding many of 
his companions. It was then that Truth issued 
from her subterranean abode, and standing by 
the wreck of the fallen tree, proclaimed aloud how 
all the treachery of Falsehood had only tended, 
as they saw, to his own destruction. 

"And you, Count Lucanor, observe well that 
falsehood, like the tree, has wide-spreading branches, 
with its flowers, representing its sayings, its thoughts, 
its deceptive pleasures, enticing many under its 
shade, waiting for the fruit which never comes to 
perfection, and, if perchance it should, is never 
enjoyed. Now, if your enemies make use of the 
deceptive wisdom of falsehood, your only alter- 
native is to be on your guard against them. Never 
be led to be one of their companions in this art, 
envy not their apparent success, which can only end 
in disgrace and discomfort to themselves. Flatter- 
ing as it may appear, it will end, like the tree of 
falsehood, in the destruction of those who seek its 
protection ; and, although truth may be despised and 
hidden for a time, yet esteem her, and attach your- 
self to her as the only good whereby you can succeed 
in this world and obtain salvation and the grace of 
God in the other/' 

Count Lucanor was much pleased with the advice 
which Patronio gave him, and acted upon it. 

THE Fox's DEVICE. 195 

Don Juan, liking the example, had it written in 
this book, and made the following verses : 

Adhere to truth, from falsehood fly; 
For evil follows all who lie. 


Of what happened to a Fox who pretended 
to be dead. 

OUNT LUCANOR, upon another oc- 
casion, sought the advice of Patronio, 
informing him that he had a relation in 
a distant land, whose possessions were 
so very small that he could scarcely defend himself 
against his more powerful neighbours, " who, feeling 
their superiority, leave no means untried to vex and 
annoy him ; and he is so wearied of this daily suffer- 
ing, that he is willing, at any cost, to free himself 
therefrom. I, too, am anxious to see him at ease." 

To which Patronio replied : " My lord, in order 
that you may best know how to advise your relation 
in this serious difficulty, allow me to relate to you 
what happened to a fox who feigned death. 

"A fox one night entered a hen-house, and, after 
causing much destruction amongst the fowls, found, 
when he was about to return to cover, that it was 
already daylight and that the people were about. 


Seeing that he could no longer conceal himself, he 
furtively went into the street, where he lay down, 
feigning death. 

"When the people saw him lying there ap- 
parently dead they paid no attention to him, until a 
man who passed shortly after, observing, as he 
thought, a dead fox, remarked that hair from the 
forehead of a fox was an excellent remedy against 
convulsions in children. So, taking out his scissors 
he clipped some hair from the forehead of the fox. 
Others, passing by, had a notion that the fur from 
the back and loins of a fox was good in some other 
complaint, and so on, until they nearly deprived him 
of all his fur. Still, the fox never moved, feeling 
that his loss was comparatively trifling. Others 
came, saying that the nails of a fox's foot were 
an infallible remedy against sudden fear, and tore 
them off. Still the fox gave no signs of life. 
Another, believing a fox's tooth to be a cure for the 
toothache, drew one of his teeth. At last a man 
came, saying a fox's heart was infallible in heart 
disease, and took out his knife to cut out the fox's 
heart, which the animal perceiving, and knowing 
that he should now lose his life if he delayed, 
resolved, no matter at what risk, to endeavour to 
save himself; and he succeeded and escaped. 

" And you, Count Lucanor, will, by this example, 
see how you should advise your friend not to heed 
slight infringements, but to let them pass by unnoticed, 
unless, indeed, his honour is impugned. A man 


need never blush at not being as strong as his neigh- 
bours, so long as he is contented. He only need 
feel shame who knows not how to suffer or to resist ; 
but, when there is real danger, then he should risk 
everything in defence of his right and honour, for 
this is of greater value than life itself." 

And the Count approved of this advice. Don 
Juan, also considering this a good example, desired 
that it should be written in this book, and composed 
the following verses : 

The ills that touch not life contented bear ; 
Avoid the rest with utmost skill and care. 


Don Manuel anticipated by some few years the archpriest of 
Hita, in whose poems we find the above tale recited (see Sanchez, 
" Poesias anteriores al Siglo, xv." 1795)- The details, however, 
differ from Don Manuel in some respects, insomuch as that it is a 
cobbler who cuts off the tail of the fox to make a pair of soft 
shoes, or some such thing. Then a surgeon takes away a part of 
his jaw, as a cure for the toothache ; an old woman then deprives 
him of an eye, to cure the pallor of young girls ; a doctor next 
cuts off his ear, as a remedy for ear complaints. The fox, how- 
ever, in the same manner as told by Don Manuel, preserves his 
life by a resolute escape. 



What happened to two blind Men travelling 

another time when Count Lucanor 
was conversing with his friend Pa- 
tronio, he said to him, " I have a rela- 
tion in whom I have great confidence, 
and I am certain that he is much attached to me. 
Now he wishes me to undertake an expedition with 
him. I am myself by no means desirous of joining 
him, as I have doubts of its success ; but he assures 
me I have nothing to fear, and that he would rather 
suffer death than that I should receive any injury. I 
beg, therefore, you will give me your opinion as to 
my proceeding." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " for this purpose it is 
desirable you should hear what happened to two 
blind men travelling together." 

The Count desiring to know what that was, 
Patronio continued as follows : 

" A blind man, who lived in a city, was, upon one 
occasion, visited by a man likewise blind, who 
proposed that they should both go to a neighbouring 
town, and endeavour to maintain themselves by 


charity, when the other remarked that the road was 
so hilly and dangerous that he feared to go. 

" ' But,' replied the other, ' have no fear, for I 
will go with you and take care of you,' pointing out 
to him, at the same time, so many advantages that 
would accrue from going there, that he trusted in 
his companion, and they both went. 

" It was not long after they had arrived at the 
dangerous part of the road, when the blind man 
who led the way fell, bringing down with him his 
companion who had feared to undertake the journey. 

" And you, Count Lucanor, if your fears are well 
founded, and the expedition is really dangerous, do 
not allow your friend to persuade you to join in the 
undertaking, for his dying for you would, under 
misfortune, benefit you nothing." 

The Count followed the advice with advantage, 
and Don Juan, thinking well of the example, had it 
written in this book, and composed the following 
couplet to be placed at the end : 

Be not induced to take a false direction 
By promises of safeguard or protection. 


This narrative may be considered as founded on the wise 
parable of Jesus, wherein He said to His disciples, "Can the 
blind lead the blind ? shall they not both fall into the ditch ?" 
This same precaution to avoid being led physically by incapable, 
or morally by designing persons, to the ruin of your estate here or 
your salvation hereafter, has been proverbialized by all nations. 



Of what happened to a young Man on his 
Wedding Day. 

day Count Lucanor was talking 
to Patronio his counsellor, and said to 
him, " Patronio, one of my dependants 
tells me he can make a very advan- 
tageous marriage with a woman much richer and 
more honourable than himself; but there is one dif- 
ficulty in the way, which is this, he tells me he has 
been informed that she is of a very violent and im- 
petuous temper. Now I beg you to counsel me 
whether I should allow him to marry this woman, 
knowing such to be her disposition, or whether I 
should forbid it." 

"Count Lucanor," replied Patronio, "if the man 
is like the son of a good man, a Moor, advise the 
marriage by all means ; but if such be not the case, 
forbid it." 

The Count begged of him to relate the narra- 

"There lived in a city," said Patronio, "a Moor 
who was much respected, and who had a son, the most 
promising youth in the world ; but, not being rich 
enough to accomplish the great deeds which he felt 


in his heart equal to, he was greatly troubled, having 
the will and not the power. 

"Now in the same town there lived another 
Moor, who held a higher position, and was very 
much richer than his father, and who had an only 
daughter, the very reverse in character and appear- 
ance of the young man, she being of so very violent 
a temper that no one could be found willing to 
marry such a virago. 

" One day the young man came to his father, and 
said, 'You know that your means will not allow 
you to put me in a position to live honourably,' 
adding that, as he desired to live an easy and quiet 
life, he thought it better to seek to enrich himself 
by an advantageous marriage, or to leave that part 
of the country. 

"The father told him that he would be very 
happy if he could succeed in such a union. On 
this, the son proposed, if it were agreeable to his 
father, to seek the daughter of their neighbour 
in marriage. Hearing this, the father was much 
astonished, and asked how he could think of such 
a thing, when he knew that no man, however 
poor, could be induced to marry her. 

" Nevertheless, the son insisted ; and, although the 
father thought it a strange whim, in the end he gave 
his consent. The good man then visited his neigh- 
bour, telling him the wish of his son. 

" When the good man heard what his friend said, 
he answered, ' By heaven, my friend, were I to do 


such a thing I should prove myself a very false friend, 
for you have a worthy son, and it would be base in 
me to consent to his injury or death; and I know 
for certain that, were he to live with my daughter, 
he would soon die, or death, at least, would be pre- 
ferable to life. Do not think I say this from any 
objection to your alliance, for I should only be too 
grateful to any man who would take her out of my 

"The young man's father was much pleased at 
this, as his son was so intent on the marriage. All 
being ultimately arranged, they were in the end 
married, and the bride taken home, according to the 
Moorish fashion, to the house of her husband, and 
left to supper ; the friends and relations returning to 
their respective homes, waiting anxiously for the 
following day, when they feared to find the bride- 
groom either dead or seriously injured. 

" Now, being left alone, the young couple sat down 
to supper, when the bridegroom, looking behind 
him, saw his mastiff and said to him, ' Bring me 
water wherewith to wash my hands.' The dog, 
naturally taking no notice of this command, the 
young man became irritated, and ordered the animal 
more angrily to bring him water for his hands, 
which the latter not heeding, the young man arose 
in a great rage, and, drawing his sword, commenced 
a savage attack on the dog, who, to avoid him 
ran away ; but, finding no retreat, jumped on the 
table, then to the fireplace, his master still pursuing 


him, who, having caught him, first cut off his head, 
then his paws, hewing him to pieces, covering 
everything with blood. Thus furious and blood- 
stained, he returned to the table, and, looking round, 
saw a cat. ' Bring me water for my hands,' said 
he to him. The animal not noticing the com- 
mand, the master cried out, ' How, false traitor, did 
you not see how I treated the mastiff for disobey- 
ing me ? if you do not do as I tell you this instant 
you shall share his fate.' The poor little harm- 
less cat continuing motionless, the master seized 
him by the paws and dashed him to pieces against 
the wall. His fury increasing, he again placed 
himself at the table, looking about on all sides as 
if for something to attack next. His wife, seeing 
this, and supposing he had lost his senses, held her 
peace. At length he espied his horse, the only one 
he had, and called to him fiercely to bring him 
water to wash his hands. The animal not obeying, 
he cried out in a rage, ' How is this ? Think 
you that because you are the only horse I have that 
you dare thus to disobey my orders ? Know then 
that your fate shall be the same as the others, and 
that anyone living who dares to disobey me shall 
not escape my vengeance.' Saying this, he seized 
the horse, cut off his head, and hacked him to 

"And when the wife saw this, and knowing he 
had no other horse, felt that he was really in earnest, 
she became dreadfully alarmed. 


" He again sat down to table, raging and all 
bloody as he was, swearing he would kill a thousand 
horses, or even men or women, if they dared to 
disobey him. Holding at the same time his bloody 
sword in his hand, he looked around with glaring 
eyes until, fixing them on his wife, he ordered her 
to bring him water to wash his hands. 

"The wife, expecting no other fate than to be 
cut to pieces if she demurred, immediately arose and 
brought him the water. 

" ' Ha ! thank God you have done so,' said he, 
' otherwise, I am so irritated by these senseless brutes 
that I should have done by you as by them.' He 
afterwards commanded her to help him to meat. 
She complied ; but he told her, in a fearful tone of 
voice, to beware, as he felt as if he was going mad. 

" Thus passed the night ; she not daring to speak, 
but strictly obeying all his orders. After letting her 
sleep for a short time, he said to her, ' Get up, I have 
been so annoyed that I cannot sleep ; take care that 
nothing disturbs me, and in the meanwhile prepare 
me a good and substantial meal.' 

" While it was yet early the following morning, the 
fathers, mothers, and other relatives came stealthily 
to the door of the young people, and, hearing no 
movement, feared the bridegroom was either dead or 
wounded ; and, seeing the bride approach the door 
alone, w r ere still more alarmed. 

" She, seeing them, went cautiously and trem- 
blingly towards them, and exclaimed : ' Traitors, 


what are you doing ? How dare you approach this 
gate ? Speak not be silent, or all of us, you as 
well as I, are dead.' 

" When they heard this they were much astonished, 
and, on learning what had taken place the night 
previous, they esteemed the young man very much 
who had made so good a commencement in the 
management of his household ; and from that day 
forward his wife became tractable and complaisant, 
so that they led a very happy life. 

"A few days later, his father-in-law, wishing to 
follow the example of his son, likewise killed a horse 
in order to intimidate his wife, but she said to him, 
' My friend, it is too late to begin now ; it would not 
avail you to kill a hundred horses : we know each 
other too well.' 

"And you, Count Lucanor, if your dependant 
wishes to marry such a woman, if he be like this 
young man, advise him that he may do it with safety, 
for he will know how to rule his house : but if he be 
not likely to act with resolute determination at the 
beginning, and to sustain his position in his house- 
hold, advise him to have nothing to do with her. As 
also I would counsel you in all cases where you have 
dealings with men to act with that decision which 
will leave them no room to think that you can be 
imposed upon." 

The Count thought this a very good example, 
and Don Juan had it written in this book, and 
made these lines, saying : 


Who would not for life be a henpeck'd fool 
Must show, from the first, that he means to rule. 


A translation of the above story, by Mr. F. W. Cosens, was 
separately printed a short time since, and was copied into the 
Athceneum of June 29, 1867, with some preliminary remarks 
calling attention to its remarkable resemblance in general idea 
to the "Taming of the Shrew" a resemblance which Tick- 
nor was the first to point out in 1848 (" History of Spanish 
Literature," vol. i. p. 66), and which had escaped the notice 
of all the Shakespearian editors and commentators. 

As the Editio Princeps of " El Conde Lucanor " was pub- 
lished at Madrid in 1575, it is, of course, possible that Shake- 
speare may have seen the book, or, if not, that he may have 
heard the story from one of the wits and poets of Elizabeth's 

In a French work, entitled, "La Collection de Legrand 
D'Aussy," will be found a similar tale to Don Manuel's 
" La Dame qui fut corrigee," where the same remedies are 
employed, but with greater brutality, as the husband, not 
content with killing his dogs and his horse, beats his wife 
and knocks out the eye of a disobedient servant. Again, 
we find the same subject in two Italian works ; one is in 
the fourth volume "Novelliero Italiano," which has been 
prettily arranged for the French stage, under the title of "La 
Jeune Femme Colere ; " and again, there is the same tale 
found in the "Notti Piacevole di Straparola." Two brothers, 
having married two sisters, on leaving the church for their re- 
spective homes, one brother presented his wife with a pair of 
trowsers and two sticks, proposing to her that she should decide 
which was to be master. She immediately acknowledged his 
superior right. He then led her to the stables, under the pre- 
text of showing her his horses, and, finding one that was restive, 
beat him and killed him. The wife profiting by this example, 


the husband had ever after only to extol her mildness and 
obedience. The other began very differently; being too much 
in love with his wife, he allowed her to gain a complete ascend- 
ency over him, and thus caused his misery. At length he 
went to consult his brother, who informed him of what he 
had done. On returning home, this foolish husband led his 
wife to the stable, and killed a horse in her presence; he then 
offered her the trowsers and two sticks, requesting her to choose, 
but she laughed at him ; so that he only lost a horse for his 

From the resemblance of this and the like tales to Don 
Manuel's account of "What happened to a Young Man on 
his Wedding Day," written in the fourteenth century, it is 
pretty clear that he was the originator of the idea. 


Of what happened to a Merchant who went to 
buy Brains. 

NE day Count Lucanor said, "Patronio, 
I am furious at a thing I have 
been told, as it tends greatly to my 
dishonour; and I fear it will provoke 

me to act with so much rashness and impetuosity 

as may cause a scandal." 

Patronio, seeing the Count so irritated, said to 

him, " My lord, permit me to relate to you what 

happened to a trader who went one day to buy 



The Count assenting, Patronio continued as 
follows : 

" My lord, there lived in a town a famous master, 
whose sole business was to sell brains. One day 
the trader of whom I spoke went to this man 
who sold brains, saying that he wished to become 
a purchaser. 

" The other replied he was very willing to serve 
him ; but desired to know what price he would go 
to, as the quality would be according to the price he 
was disposed to pay for it. 

" The trader offered him a maravedi,* which he 
took, saying, ' My friend, when you are invited to a 
dinner, and know not the number of dishes of which 
it is composed, eat heartily of the first which is pre- 
sented to you.' 

" The trader replied that was very poor value for 
his money ; to which the other said, ' As I told you, 
it is according to the price given. 

" The trader then presented him with a dollar ; 
and the other told him that, when he should find 
himself in a rage never to act on the impulse of his 
feelings, but to wait until he had well considered all 
the circumstances. The trader, finding that, at this 
rate, he would be expending many dollars, resolved 
henceforward to seek advice in his own brain, for 
better or for worse. 

* A Spanish copper coin, thirty-four of which make a real 
de vellon, which is about threepence English. 


" Now it happened that this trader, having occa- 
sion to go to a distant country by sea, had to leave 
his wife while she was with child. More than 
twenty years passed without any tidings of him. 
The mother, having a son, and believing her husband 
to be dead, she having no other child, continued to 
eat and sleep with her son, as had been her custom 
from his birth; she, from her great love for her 
husband and child, calling the boy her husband. It 
now happened that the trader, having completed his 
business, turned towards home with his fortune, and 
arriving at the gate of the city where he lived, passed 
on without making himself known to anybody, and 
quietly sought his own house, where he concealed 
himself that he might see what was passing. 

" Now when it was evening and the young man 
came home, the good wife said, 'Good husband, 
whence come you ? ' 

" The trader, hearing her call this young man her 
husband, was much grieved, not because she had 
married him, but, seeing so young a man, he feared 
she was leading an immoral life. He determined at 
once upon killing her, but, recollecting the advice 
which had cost him a dollar, kept cool. By-and-bye 
they sat down to table, which the trader seeing, felt 
still more irritated, but he yet remembered the 
advice he had received, and would not allow himself 
to be carried away by his passion ; but, when night 
came, and he saw them lie down together, he felt it 
impossible longer to restrain his anger, and issued 



from his hiding-place, intending to kill them ; but, 
suddenly remembering the brains which he had 
purchased, became quiet. 

" Now, before the fire was quite extinguished, the 
woman commenced crying bitterly, ' O, my son and 
husband, I hear that a vessel has arrived from the 
country your father journeyed to ; for the love of 
God, I pray you to go early in the morning, and 
perchance you may hear some news of him.' 

"The trader, hearing this, and remembering the 
situation in which he had left his wife, concluded 
this might be his own son, and felt much pleased, 
thanking God very heartily that he had not killed 
him as he intended ; and now thought the dollar 
which he had expended in the purchase of brains 
well laid out, as it had taught him self-command. 

" And you, Count Lucanor, do not act hastily and 
before you have given yourself time to ascertain the 
truth and certainty of that which you complain of; 
but, once satisfied on this point, let not anger carry 
you away, or influence you to do anything which 
may hereafter give you cause for repentance. 

The Count was pleased with this advice, and 
followed it. Don Juan, approving of this example, 
ordered it to be written in this book, with the 
following lines : 

If your anger hastily you vent, 

Twill be your fate at leisure to repent. 



How much unhappiness would be spared in this world if the 
advice given in the two lines appended to this amusing tale were 
more strictly followed. How unwise is it to act while under the 
influence of a passion which tramples beneath its feet all guardian 
agencies; how much better to give some time to reflection, as 
Norfolk advises Buckingham, when he says, " Stay, my lord, and 
let your reason with your choler question what 'tis you go about" 
Henry VIII. 

It is well often to take counsel of our pillow, or, as the Italians 
say, in a beautiful proverb, " La notte e la madre di pensieri," 
" Night is the mother of thoughts." Neither should it ever be for- 
gotten that we may some day be reconciled to the person who 
now excites our passion, and live to regret the too hasty utter- 
ance of observations which may ever mar that unity of feeling 
which previously existed, for, as the Spaniards say, "Amigo 
quebrado y soldado mas nunca sano," " Broken friendships may 
be soldered, but never made sound." 

So far concerns the moral. The narrative, however, throughout 
is novel and full of point, showing that good brains, like any other 
article, should or ought to bring; to the vendor a value propor- 
tionate to their worth. 



What happened to a Man with a grey Sand-piper and 
a Swallow. 

N another occasion, Count Lucanor, 
speaking with Patronio, said, " Patro- 
nio, in no way can I escape having a 
quarrel with one of my two neighbours. 
It happens that one of these is nearer to me than 
the other ; I beg you, therefore, to advise me what 
to do under these circumstances." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " that I may the better 
do this, allow me to relate what happened to a man 
with a sand-piper and a swallow." 

" Willingly," replied the Count. 

" There was a feeble old man who was so annoyed 
by the chirping and chattering of the sand-pipers 
and swallows which surrounded his dwelling, that 
he begged a friend to get rid of them for him, as he 
found they entirely prevented his getting any rest. 

" His friend replied that he was willing to comply 
with his request, but that it would be impossible to 
get rid of both of them at the same time. It there- 
fore only remained for him to decide which should 
be removed. 

" To this the old man replied that the swallows 


made the most noise, and were the greatest 
nuisance ; ' But, you know,' he says, ' the swallows 
go and come ; I should therefore, prefer getting rid 
of the sand-pipers, as they are always stationary.' 

"And you, Count Lucanor, although your more 
distant neighbour may be the more powerful, I would 
advise you rather to quarrel with him than with 
your adjoining one, although he be the weaker." 

The Count liked this advice, and followed it with 
much benefit. 

And Don Juan, thinking it to be a good example, 
ordered it to be written in this book, and composed 
the following lines : 

If thou be forced all ways to exchange a blow, 
Choose the more distant, though more powerful foe. 


This fable teaches us the well-known maxim, "Of two evils 
choose the less," a question often requiring the exercise of our 
best discrimination. And, if an enemy must exist, there can be no 
question that a distant one is more to be tolerated than the endless 
annoyance of a nearer one ; the more so, when broils and offences 
were, in Don Manuel's time, more frequently decided by the sword 
than by an appeal to justice. 

The sand-piper (Totanns) alluded to chiefly frequents the sands 
and shingly shores of the sea coast. It is a noisy bird, and utters 
shrill and wailing cries. 



What happened to the Devil, with a Woman who 
went on a Pilgrimage. 

L OUNT LUCANOR, conversing one day 
with Patronio, his counsellor, said, 
" Patronio, I and some other persons 
were talking together lately, and in- 
quiring in what manner a bad man could inflict most 
evil upon others and make them suffer most. Some 
said, by rebellion ; others, by evil-doing ; and some 
declared that the thing of all others which made a 
man most dangerous was an evil and slanderous 
tongue. Now, as you have so good an understand- 
ing, I pray you to tell me from which of these 
injuries the persons suffering from them would 
be likely to receive most harm." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " that you may the 
better understand my opinion on this matter, I 
should like to relate to you what happened to the 
Devil, with a woman who went on a pilgrimage." 

The Count, requesting to hear the narrative, 
Patronio proceeded as follows : 

" In a certain town there resided a young man of 
good personal appearance and his wife, who lived 
so happily together that they were never known to 


disagree. The Devil, seeing this, and always going 
about seeking to do evil, was much grieved at this 
semblance of worldly felicity, and determined to 
leave no means untried by which he could mar their 
happiness and draw them into his meshes. 

"One day he was returning from the town 
where this couple lived, sad and dejected at the ill- 
success of his schemes, when he met an evil-disposed 
woman in the guise of a pilgrim. Having saluted 
each other, she asked him from whence he came so 
sad. He told her he was returning from the town 
where the man and woman lived, detailed their state 
of happiness, and how he had been going about for 
some time to cause dissension between them, but 
without success. 

" She said she was much astonished, and the more 
so, knowing his cunning, at his being frustrated; 
and so promised, if he would follow her advice, she 
would soon put an end to his troubles. 

"The Devil consented to do all she suggested, 
provided she could cause a difference between the 
man and his wife. They immediately made arrange- 
ments for their future operations. 

'"The woman then went to the town where the 
young couple resided, and devoted the whole of her 
time to watching their habits and proceedings. She 
ultimately called at their house, saying that she had 
been an old servant in the family and was anxious, 
if they would engage her to devote her whole life to 
their service. 


"The good wife, believing in her word, unfor- 
tunately took her into her house, and confided to her, 
after a while, all her secrets, as did also her husband. 

" Now, after living in their service for some time, 
and becoming the confidant of both parties, she came 
one day, with a sad face, saying to the wife, ' I fear 
from what I have seen that your husband is devoting 
himself more to another woman than he ought, and 
I come to advise you to lose no opportunity in 
securing his love by a more devoted attention the 
loss of his affection being the greatest evil that could 
happen to you.' 

"When the good woman heard this, although 
she could scarcely believe it, yet it had the effect of 
making her anxious and sad. 

"The false servant seeing this, then went to meet 
the husband, who she knew was returning home 
from a certain place, and, with a woful face, told 
him that, much as she disliked it, she felt it her duty 
to inform him that she feared his wife loved another 
more than himself; at the same time praying, for 
the love of God, he would not tell his wife, or she 
would kill her. 

"The young husband, hearing this, would not 
believe it ; nevertheless, it had the effect of causing 
him to be very depressed and dejected. 

" The woman, seeing this, hastened home to the 
wife, saying to her, with great feeling, 'My dear 
child, I cannot understand how it is that your hus- 
band is becoming so indifferent to you; and, that 


you may believe in my fidelity, take notice when 
he comes in how angry and sad he is, contrary to 
his usual custom.' On leaving the wife she went to 
the husband with the same story. 

" As soon as the husband reached the house, and 
found his wife so dejected and so different from her 
usual appearance, he became more uneasy. After a 
while the servant proposed to the wife to consult 
some soothsayer, who could advise her the best 
method of regaining and securing her husband's 
affection. The wife, who desired to again live 
happily with her husband, willingly assented to this. 
In a few days the servant informed her mistress that 
she had found a wise man, whom they now con- 
sulted, and who gave her to understand that, if she 
cut a few hairs from her husband's beard, under the 
chin, it would have the effect of instantly removing all 
his anger, and they would live in harmony, as before, 
and perhaps more happily ; at the same time giving a 
razor for the purpose. The young wife, anxious to 
regain her husband's former love, and again live 
happily as before, consented to do as suggested. 

"The false servant now turned to the husband, 
telling him that she was miserable at the prospect of 
losing him, but she could no longer conceal it from 
him that his wife intended to kill him and go away 
with her admirer; addinj that he might verify the 
truth of her statements. She now said that his wife 
and her lover had arranged to kill him in the follow- 
ing manner. She then suggested that he should come 


in by-and-bye to take a little rest, and told him that, 
as soon as he was asleep, his wife intended cutting 
his throat with a razor. 

"The husband was much alarmed at what the 
woman told him, resolving inwardly to test the truth 
of her assertion, guarding himself by precautions 
from any actual danger. On returning home, his 
wife received him more kindly than she had done 
for some time, asking him why he so incessantly 
worked, taking so little rest; inviting him, at the 
same time, to lie down and place his head on her 
knees while she lulled him to sleep. 

" On the husband's hearing this he felt convinced 
of the truth of the servant's statement, and, in order to 
test his wife's conduct he lay down as she proposed, 
resting his head on her lap, and in a little time 
feigned to be asleep. She now took in her hand 
the razor to cut off the hairs from his throat, as 
advised by the false servant ; when the husband, 
surprising her with the razor in her hand in the act 
of applying it to his throat, no longer doubted her 
treachery, and, starting up with alarm, seized the 
razor from her hands, and instantly decapitated her. 
The wife's father and brothers, hearing the noise 
which this struggle occasioned, ran hastily into the 
room and were horrified at the spectacle they there 
beheld, and, having never heard any evil reports 
against the young woman, immediately attacked the 
young man and slew him. 

" Again, the relatives of the young man, hearing 


how unfairly he had been slain, attacked in their 
turn the father and brothers of the wife, and killed 
them. This brought others into the fray, so that 
many in the town lost their lives. 

"All this was caused by the false representations 
of the wicked servant; but, as God never permits 
evil, known or concealed, to go unpunished, so it 
was soon discovered that all these misfortunes arose 
from the hypocrisy and false representations of a 
deceitful female pilgrim, who, being brought to 
justice, was condemned to a most cruel death. 

" And you, Count Lucanor, if you desire to know 
what class of men are most dangerous in society, 
learn, from this recital, that they are those who, 
under the guise of friendship or otherwise, introduce 
calumny and false representations for the destruction 
of good feeling. I advise you, therefore, to be most 
on your guard against religious cats or 'sancti- 
monious traitors,' against whom the Scriptures also 
caution us, saying, ' A fructibus eorum cognoscetis 
eos,' ' By their fruits ye shall know them.' For 
certain it is that no man can long conceal entirely 
his thoughts and intentions ; there will arise 
occasions when they will escape him and attract 

The Count found much truth in what Patronio 
had said, and prayed to God to preserve him 
and his friends from the baneful influence of all 

And Don Juan, liking the example, had it written 


in this book, and composed the following lines, 
which say : 

The doings, not the semblance, heed, 
Wouldst thou from evil chance be freed. 


We are strongly inclined to believe that Moliere, in writing 
his celebrated "Tartuffe," had in view the fable of Don Manuel. 
Although the characters introduced are not exactly alike, yet 
his severe criticisms on the hypocrisy of the abbes of his day 
(so generally commented on at that time by most writers) 
resemble in that and in the constniction of the story the little 
drama of Don Manuel, wherein is so vividly depicted the great 
evil of hypocrisy, and where, by misrepresentations, not only 
is the happiness of one family destroyed, but several murders 
committed, and, indeed, a whole town involved in a general 

In this tale I have not translated literally the invitation made 
by -the wife, "Y que ella lo espulgaiia," fearing it might be 
offensive to the eyes of some of our readers. In making this 
remark, I cannot but comment on the general refinement of 
Don Manuel's writings, and their entire freedom from the 
grossness which, at a later period, characterized the works of 
some of the best Spanish writers. 



The advice which Patronio gave to Count Lucanor 
when informed that a Man had offered to teach 
him the art of foretelling coming events, which he 
exemplified by what happened to a good man, 
who became first rich and afterwards poor, by the 
intervention of the Devil. 

ay Count Lucanor said to Patronio, 
" A man tells me that he knows many 
ways and signs whereby to foretell 
coming events, which art he desires to 
teach me, so that I may be enabled to increase 
my power and better my possessions. But, as my 
conscience inspires me with the feeling that this is 
not altogether without sin, before I accept his offer, 
I wish you to direct me what to do." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " in order to illustrate 
your situation, allow me to relate to you the story of 
the man with the Devil." 
" Willingly," said the Count. 
Patronio proceeded as follows : " A very rick 
man arrived at such a state of poverty that he was 
unable to maintain himself, which misfortune made 
him very wretched. One day, being particularly 


sad, and wandering alone among the mountains, he 
chanced to meet the Devil, who, though from his 
intuitive knowledge he was well aware of what was 
passing in the man's mind, nevertheless asked him 
why he was so sad. 

" The man replied, it was no use telling him, as 
he could not remove the cause. 

"The Devil answered, and said to the man, that, 
if he were willing to comply with all he required of 
him, he would prove to him that he was able to 
relieve him, and that he knew why he was unhappy. 
He then related all that had happened to him and 
the cause of his sadness, asking him again if he 
would accept his conditions, as, if so, he would 
relieve him from his misery, making him richer than 
any of his family had ever been before, saying that 
he was the Devil, and had the power to do it. 

"The man, hearing this, felt a little alarm; 
nevertheless, his misery was so great that he 
ultimately agreed, on condition of being made 
very rich, to do all that was required of him. 

" So it is that the Devil always knows his time to 
make men fall into his snares. When he sees us in 
any trouble or necessity, it is then that he offers 
us his assistance to avoid labour and anxiety for the 
sake of an immediate apparent relief. So it was 
that he obtained possession of this man, making 
him his slave. 

"The conditions being arranged, the Devil told 
the man that he must now become a robber, and 


that he would give him the power to open the gate 
or door of any house he desired, no matter how 
well secured it might be ; and if by chance he were 
taken prisoner, he had only to cry out, 'Help me, 
Don Martin/ and he would come and set him free 
from all danger. 

"On these conditions, the man set out for the 
house of a rich merchant, under the cover of night 
(for evil-doers always avoid the light). He reached 
the door, which the Devil opened for him ; and it 
happened in the same manner with others, so that in 
a short time the man found himself very rich indeed, 
and lost all remembrance of his former poverty; 
but, not content with his riches, he still continued 
his career of robbery, until, being caught at last 
and taken to prison, he called on Don Martin, who, 
speedily arriving, placed him at liberty. Neverthe- 
less, he yet continued his former practices, and being 
taken prisoner, he called, as before, for his deliverer, 
whose attendance was not so prompt as on the 
former occasion. When he asked him how he 
dared to deceive him, and why he delayed so long 
in coming to help him, the Devil replied that he was 
particularly engaged at the moment. He was again, 
however, liberated. 

" Now the man, seeing the facility which which he 
was freed from prison, still continued his robberies, 
but, Don Martin not responding to his last appeal, 
he was tried and sentenced to die. After sentence 
was passed, Don Martin once more placed him at 


liberty in the name of the king. Again this man 
returned to his old courses, and again was taken 
prisoner. This time, however, Don Martin did 
not arrive until he was at the foot of the scaffold. 
The man then told Don Martin this was no 
child's-play, for his delay had caused him dreadful 

"Don Martin replied he had brought him five- 
hundred maravedi in an alms-bag, which he was to 
offer to the judge, who would immediately liberate 
him. Now, while they were making preparations, 
there appeared some difficulty in procuring a rope, 
when the man, calling the judge aside, gave him the 
bag containing the money. 

"The judge, after a short time, turning to the 
people, said, ' My friends, did you ever see a rope 
wanting when the man is really guilty ? it is clear 
that God does not desire the death of the innocent ; 
therefore we shall defer the execution until to- 
morrow. Examine his antecedents more carefully, 
and, depend upon it, justice shall be satisfied.' This 
the judge did to gain time to count the money in 
the bag, where, instead of money, finding only a 
rope, he immediately ordered the execution of the 
prisoner, who, having the rope round his neck, 
called again on Don Martin, who attending, he 
desired to know why he had deserted him in this 
extremity ; to which the Devil replied that, under 
any circumstances he could help him, except when 
he had a rope round his neck, as then he the 


Devil was deprived by this of his power. The 
consequence was that the culprit met the fate which 
awaited him, losing thereby both soul and body, 
from not resisting the temptation of the Devil ; 
such being the fate of all those who rely upon false 
aid and delay their repentance. And, if you doubt 
my word, think of what happened to Alvar Nunez 
and Garcilaso, who were most credulous men and 
believed in all manner of signs and prognostications. 

" And you, Count Lucanor, if you desire to save 
both soul and body, put your trust and hope in God, 
who will never desert you, and not in omens and 
predictions ; for it is a great sin to doubt the power 
of God, placing your hopes on auguries and such 
occult fancies." 

And the Count, thinking this good advice, followed 
it with much benefit. Don Juan also considered 
it so good an example as to be worthy of being 
written in this book, and he composed the following 
lines : 

Who doth not trust in God repose, 
Evil his life and sad its close. 


The study of astrology, witchcraft, or demonology, and the 
occult sciences, occupied much attention at the period when 
Don Manuel wrote, and he, fearing not to be wiser than his 
time, has chosen in the above tale an example entirely in con- 
formity with the opinion he desired to propagate. The Devil 



he shows us as the first of all sorcerers, and makes him powerful 
only for evil. We see, however, in all the old writers who had 
faith in sorcery, that, while admitting the agency of evil, there 
yet remained a doubt as to its fulfilment, consequent upon the 
permission of an all-superintending superior agency of good. 
This same drama we see enacted in the present day, in the form 
of pantomime, where the efforts of the evil one are ultimately 
rendered abortive by the watchful spirit of goodness. There is 
a very old fable in Sir Roger L'Estrange's collection, which 
is curiously like the one above, where a malefactor who had 
committed I know not how many villanies and run through the 
discipline of many jails, made a friend of the/ Devil to help 
him out of all his distresses. This friend of his brought him 
off many and many a time, and still he was taken up; again 
and again he had recourse to the same Devil for succour. 
But, upon his last summons, the Devil came to him with a 
great bag full of old shoes on his back, and told him plainly, 
"Friend," says he, "I am at the end of my line, and can 
help you no longer. I have beat the hoof till I have worn 
out all these shoes in your service, and not one penny left me 
to buy more, so that you must e'en excuse me if I drop you 


What happened to Don Lorenzo Xuares Gallinato, 
when he beheaded the renegade Priest. 

LUCANOR, speaking one day 
with Patronio, said to him, "A man 
came to me recently offering his ser- 
vices. I know him to be a good man, 
nevertheless I have heard so many tales about him 
that I am undecided as to accepting his offers. 
Now, as I know your ability to give me good 
advice, I beg you to tell me what I should do in 
this affair." 

" Count Lucanor," said Patronio, " in order that 
you may know how best to act in this affair, allow 
me to relate to you what happened to Don Lorenzo 
Xuares Gallinato." 

The Count desiring to know what that was, 
Patronio spoke as follows : 

" Don Lorenzo Xuares Gallinato lived a long 
time in the service of the King of Granada, and 
when it pleased God to restore him to the favour of 
the holy King Ferdinand, this latter asked Don 
Lorenzo one day how he ever hoped for mercy and 
salvation, having so long served the Moors against 
the Christians. 

" Don Lorenzo replied that he thought he had 


never done anything very offensive to God, unless 
it was that he once had killed a priest. 

" King Ferdinand, thinking this a very grievous 
sin, asked him how it happened : to which he 
replied that, being in the service of the King of 
Granada, who trusted everything to him, and being 
an officer of the body-guard, he one day accom- 
panied the king, on horseback, to the city, where 
they heard in a street a riotous noise, as if made by 
many people. On putting spurs to his horse and 
advancing to ascertain the cause of the tumult, he 
found a Christian priest surrounded by people to 
whom he declared his intention to become a mussul- 
man and deliver over to them the God in whom the 
Christians believed and trusted. This unhappy 
traitor, having procured vestments and raised an 
altar, celebrated mass thereon, and, after consecrat- 
ing the sacred Host, delivered it over to the people, 
who commenced its desecration by dragging it 
through the streets and treating it with every mark 
of opprobrium. Seeing this, he, although living 
among the Moors, remembering he was a Christian, 
and firmly believing the dogma of his faith, and 
that what they were insulting was the body of 
Christ Jesus who had died for the redemption of 
sinners, thought this was a happy occasion to risk 
his own life to save from further insult the sacred 
Host, and revenge those outrages which had been 
already offered to it ; so, descending from his horse, 
drew his sword and slew the offending priest. He 


then knelt down in adoration before God who had 
been so insulted. At this the Moors became out- 
rageous, attacking him with sticks and stones, and 
causing a great uproar, which the king hearing, rode 
forward to inquire the cause, finding Lorenzo, sword 
in hand, defending himself against the Moors, who 
sought to kill him. He called upon the people to 
desist, at the same time inquiring the cause of the 
disturbance, which the Moors related to him with 
great anger, and how Don Lorenzo had killed the 
priest. The king demanded to know how he had 
dared to do so without orders; when Don Lorenzo 
simply answered that he was a Christian, and that, 
as the king trusted the care of his person to him ; 
his loyalty and duty would ever compel him to 
suffer death rather than that the sacred person of 
his majesty should be insulted, so his duty as a 
Christian obliged him to sacrifice his life in defence 
of the sacred body of the King of kings and Lord of 
lords ; if his majesty desired to punish him for this, 
he was ready to submit to his commands. The 
king, hearing this, understanding his motives, and 
knowing his fidelity, appreciated him and loved 
him more. 

" And you, Count Lucanor, if you know this man 
is really trustworthy, heed not what is said against 
him, but act as the King of Granada did towards 
Don Lorenzo Xuares Gallinato ; but, if you think 
the man deceives you and is unworthy of your con- 
fidence, avoid accepting his offer of service." 


The Count was much pleased with the advice 
which Patronio had given him. And Don Juan, 
liking the example, had it written in this book, and 
wrote the following couplet : 

Many things unreasonable seem, 

Which, when better known, we find deserve esteem. 


This chapter is wanting in the early editions of "Count Lucanor," 
and the void is explained by the defective state of the manuscript 
apparently used by Argote de Molina, which is that supposed to 
have come from the convent of Peflafiel, to which it was be- 
queathed by the author. Fortunately, another manuscript has 
been discovered in the National Library of Madrid, containing 
the whole of the fable, which is given in the excellent edition cf 
Don Pascual de Gayangos (Madrid, 1860). 



Concerning that which happened to Saladin and a 
Lady, wife of a Knight in his service. 

OUNT LUCANOR spoke to Patronio 
one day in the following manner: 

" Patronio, I know for certain that 
you have an excellent understanding, 
and that there is no man on earth better able to give 
advice in any case than you ; I pray you, therefore, 
to tell me what, in your opinion, is the best qualifi- 
cation a man can possess. I am more needful of 
your opinion because I am conscious how many 
qualities a man requires to enable him to act well 
and with success ; for a man may have a good 
understanding, and, nevertheless, not act well. 
Such being the case, I desire to know the one 
thing most essential for me to remember and 
cherish under all circumstances." 

" My lord," said Patronio, " I thank you for your 
praise, but more especially for the honour you do 
me in appreciating my understanding. Nevertheless, 
I fear you may err in this particular, knowing as I 
well do, how easy it is to deceive ourselves in our 
judgment of mankind, as we have to determine two 
things : the one, what is the disposition of a man ; 


and the other, what is his understanding. Now, to 
clearly know what is a man's real character we must 
see how he acts towards God, as also what is his 
conduct towards the world ; for, much as he may 
aypear to do good works, and allowing that he 
really may perform some good and worthy actions, 
yet these may be directed only to his greater advan- 
tage in this world ; so that all this specious virtue 
and merit, which certainly serves its purpose for 
the day, will be found void of all solid foundation, 
and will not exempt a man from the suffering 
consequent upon sin. 

" Now others perform their good works for the 
service of God only, regarding not the world. We 
all know this is the better part, being that which 
will secure for us eternal happiness in the future; 
nevertheless, those who elect either the one or the 
other extreme should consider well the course they 
are pursuing the one acts and lives only for this 
world, the other is quite regardless thereof. 

" Now, as man owes a duty both to God and to 
the world, he should so regulate his conduct as to 
perform good actions, guided by purity of intention 
in all things a task almost as difficult to accomplish 
as to hold his hand in the fire without feeling the 

" It is, therefore, right that a man should, in all 
his actions, consider that he owes a united duty to 
God and man, for there have been many good kings 
and holy men who have fulfilled these two duties. 


" Again, to judge a man's understanding, requires 
us to weigh well his good works. Many men are 
found with good solid sense, who cannot at the same 
time speak two sentences correctly ; whilst others 
act perfectly, if you believe their own recital and 
description of what they do and intend doing ; 
nevertheless, their deeds are of small value. 

" How is it, then, that men act so well in their 
own opinion and so contrariwise according to the 
ideas of others ? like to those whom the Scripture 
calls fools running about with drawn swords in 
their hands, always ready to destroy all who con- 
tradict them ; or, as princes who abuse their might 
and power. 

" Now, that you may be able to judge which man 
is most pleasing to God and the world, who pos- 
sesses a real good understanding, whose intentions 
are pure, and whose words deserve credence, you 
must carefully judge them by their works ; and this 
must not be done hastily and without due considera- 
tion, but you must cautiously watch, even if for a 
considerable period, in order to ascertain if prudence, 
justice, a kind regard for the feelings of others, and 
a true spirit of charity guide their words and deeds. 

" I have entered into a consideration of the 
motives which should and do influence men, 
particularly as you have paid me so honourable 
a compliment, which, perhaps, after a mature con- 
sideration, you might not feel inclined hastily to 
repeat, in order that you may decide for yourself 


which is the qualification most essential and most 
beneficial to man ; and I will farther relate to you the 
story of Saladin, and the wife of one of his vassals." 

The Count begged to be allowed to hear this. 

"Count," said Patronio, "Saladin was Sultan of 
Babylon, and being one day on an expedition with 
a mighty train of knights and attendants, he found 
it was impossible to lodge them all in the same house 
with himself, so he resolved to go and ask for accom- 
modation at the residence of one of his vassals for 
himself, who seeing his sovereign at his humble 
dwelling, felt himself highly honoured thereby, and 
both he and his wife paid the Sultan every attention, 
ministering personally to all his wants. It happened 
that the Devil, who is ever seeking how he can 
tempt men to vice and folly, inspired Saladin with 
a violent passion for the wife of his host, and as 
unfortunately bad advisers, false friends, and abet- 
tors are never wanting, one of these latter counselled 
Saladin to send away the woman's husband on a 
confidential mission, pointing out that, during his 
absence, the wife would be in the Sultan's power. 
Now this advice pleased Saladin very much, so he 
decided on removing the husband to a distant part 
of his dominions. A few days after the latter's 
departure the Sultan returned to take up his abode 
at the house of his vassal, and the wife, grateful for 
all the benefits conferred on her house, did all in 
her power to please her sovereign, urging all her 
domestics to carefully attend to his wants. 


"One day, on rising from table, Saladin passed 
into his own private apartments, and sent to ac- 
quaint the lady that he desired her attendance there. 
She, not suspecting evil, immediately went, and was 
both pained and surprised at hearing the Sultan 
declare how much he loved her. She feigned, how- 
ever, not to comprehend his meaning, replying she 
was quite unworthy his regard, and that she daily 
prayed to God for his long life and happiness, as 
she was in duty bound, he being her lord and 
master, and that she never could forget his noble 
conduct towards her husband. 

"After listening to her, Saladin replied that he 
loved her more than any other woman in the world. 
Nevertheless, she still appeared not to rightly un- 
derstand his meaning, but was profuse in her 
professions of respect and gratitude. 

" At length the Sultan was obliged to declare in 
plain language the nature of his passion, when the 
woman, who was as clever as she was virtuous, 
adroitly changed the conversation : ' My lord/ said 
she, ' I am only a poor weak woman ; still I know 
that men are not always masters of their feelings 
and passions, so it may be that you really love me as 
you say you do ; but this I do know, that when a 
man, particularly a great one like you, is influenced 
by a woman's charms and seeks her favour, he 
makes her most flattering promises, but that, as 
soon as he has gratified his unworthy passion, he 
crushes her under the weight of her own dishonour, 


and basely turns his back on her; and such treat- 
ment I should richly merit were I to listen to your 
declarations, which, believe me, I will neither hear 
nor accept.' 

" Saladin vainly endeavoured to persuade her she 
had nothing to fear, as he would ever be constant 
and true, protesting that, if she would but grant him 
a favourable hearing, he would gratify all her wishes 
and desires. 

" ' Well, then/ she replied, ' since you are willing 
to gratify all my caprices, I promise you that as 
soon as I find you are faithful to your word, I, 
too, will do all you desire of me.' 

" Saladin thought she was going to beg of him, as 
a favour, to renounce his love for her, and hastened 
to make this an exceptional circumstance from his 
general promise. She reassured him, however, say- 
ing she did not require this nor any other sacrifice 
beyond his strength. 'Ah, then,' cried he, 'I will 
solemnly swear to do all you ask me.' 

" The noble and virtuous lady, tranquillised by his 
promise, knelt before him, kissing his hands and feet. 
She then told him all she desired was that he should 
tell her what he considered the best thing a man could 
possess, and which is the head and foundation of all 
other virtues, being greater in itself than all others. 

"Now Saladin, hearing this question, began to 
think what answer he should give, and finally asked 
the good woman to grant him some time to thinw 
the matter over ; to which she consented, promising 


that, as soon as he replied to her question, she 
would, as she had told him, comply with all his 
wishes. So, for the present, ended the discussion 
between them. 

" The Sultan now sought his suite and attendants, 
and began questioning them, in order that he might 
find a suitable answer to the proposition which had 
been made to him. 

"Some told him that, in their opinion, a life of 
piety and devotion and a hope centered solely on 
God and eternity was the greatest possession men 
could desire ; whilst others remarked, that a life 
entirely given to spiritual concerns and neglectful of 
the duties due to our state and position could not be 
good. Some now proposed that loyalty was the 
best qualification for men ; but others remarked, 
that a man might be very loyal, nevertheless he 
might be stupid, cowardly, and rude. And so they 
continued, each one giving some opinion ; none, 
however, satisfying the Sultan as to the question he 
had proposed. 

" Saladin, not finding amongst his own court any 
who could reply to his question, sought out two 
jugglers, with whom, disguised in their dress, he 
secretly travelled both by sea and land to seek in all 
countries a suitable reply to the question. They first 
went to the Papal court, knowing it to be the resort 
of Christians from all parts, hoping there to find 
some one able to solve their difficulty ; after which 
they went to France, to see if, among kings, they 


would succeed better. As time passed on they 
began to regret heartily the task they had under- 
taken, for it appeared a man possessing discernment 
enough to solve this question was not easily to be 
met with, and possibly would have abandoned the 
undertaking had not shame at being thought indolent 
and careless prevented their so doing. Saladin did 
not think of giving up all hope, because he had not 
as yet found a solution in or out of his own dominions. 

" It happened that one day, as the Sultan and the 
jugglers were travelling, they accidently met on the 
road a young esquire who was hunting, and had 
just killed a stag. Now this young man had a very 
old and feeble father who, in his younger days, was 
considered the best sportsman in that country, but 
now, from old age and infirmities, was confined to 
his chair, still he preserved his understanding as 
clear and able as when young, age having respected 
his mental faculties. The young huntsman was 
coming gaily from the chase, and, meeting the Sultan 
and his jugglers, he asked them who they were and 
what they sought. Hearing they were jugglers, he 
invited them to accompany him home for that night. 
But they excused themselves, saying they were in 
great haste, it being very long since they had left 
their country in search of a particular errand which 
they could not complete to their satisfaction ; so that 
they could not, although willing to do so, accept his 
kind offer. 

" Now the young man questioned them so closely 


that they could not help telling him their errand, to 
which he replied that, in his belief, his own father 
was the only man on earth capable of helping them, 
for, if he could not answer the question, no man 
living could. 

" When Saladin, who was disguised as a juggler, 
heard this he was much pleased, and they all followed 
the young man to his house, who entered gaily, 
telling his father that he had been most fortunate at 
the chase, and had met these men on his road home ; 
whereupon, explaining their difficulties, he besought 
his father to do his best to satisfactorily answer their 

" The old man soon discovered that the one who in- 
terrogated him was not in reality a juggler, but acting 
a part. He told his son that, after they had dined, 
he would reply to any question they might ask him. 

"The young esquire told this to Saladin, whom 
he believed to be a juggler, which pleased him much. 
As soon, however, as the tablecloth was removed 
after the repast, and the jugglers were ready, the old 
man told his son to ask them to repeat their question, 
assuring them that he would do his best to give a 
satisfactory answer, no man having yet done so. 

" When Saladin, still disguised, spoke, saying that 
the question was, ' What is the greatest qualification 
a man can possess, and which is the foundation of 
all other virtues ? ' 

"The old man, hearing this, understood well its 
meaning, and at once recognized Saladin, having 


spent a long time at his court in former days and re- 
ceived from him many favours and marks of esteem ; 
he therefore said to him, ' My friend, the first 
answer I will give you is this, that never before to- 
day have jugglers been admitted to my house, and 
know that what I should now do would be to pro- 
claim to all present the many favours and benefits I 
have received from you; nevertheless, I will hold 
my peace till such time as I have had a private 
interview with you, not wishing to do aught which 
might displease you. Know, therefore, now that 
the greatest possession a man can own, and the source 
of all other virtues is honour, for a man will suffer 
death to defend his honour, it being, as it should be, 
his dearest treasure. For honour's sake a man re- 
frains from doing that which he believes to be wrong, 
let his desire be ever so great. Hence, we see, 
honour is the most desirable thing a man can possess, 
it being the beginning and ending of all virtue and 
goodness, the source and crown of all. So a loss of 
the sense of shame is the greatest evil that can befall 
a man.' 

" Now, when the Sultan heard these words, he 
understood that the old man spoke truly and justly, 
and, having thanked him for the explanation and also 
for his hospitality, prepared to depart with his com- 
panions, not, however, before the old man had in- 
formed him that, notwithstanding his disguise, he 
had recognized him from the first. 

" Saladin, thanking his host for his polite atten- 


tion, and more particularly for the solution of the 
question, returned with all haste to his own domi- 
nions, where, on his arrival, he was received with 
every demonstration of joy. After a little while he 
sought the residence of the lady who had proposed 
the question he was to reply to. She received him 
with every mark of respect and consideration, and in- 
sisted on his partaking of refreshments ; after which 
Saladin related all the trouble and journeying it had 
cost him to have her question solved, but that, at last, 
he had happily succeeded in finding what he believed 
to be a suitable answer ; and that, having thus ful- 
filled his promise, he hoped the lady would now 
keep hers made to him. To which she replied, 
' Most certainly, provided the answer is satisfactory 
to my mind.' 

" The Sultan said, ' Madam, you asked me what 
was the greatest treasure a man could possess, and 
which in itself was the author and source of all virtue 
and goodness. Now I answer honour, which is 
the source and foundation of all virtue.' 

" The good lady, hearing this reply, rejoiced very 
much, and said, ' Sire, now I feel you have spoken 
truth to me, and have really fulfilled your promise. 
Now I ask you, as a king, to reply truly to the 
question I am going to propose ; do you think there 
is a man in the world possessed of more honour than 
yourself ? ' 

"Saladin replied that, although he felt loth to 
answer on his own account, still, truth obliged him 



to say that he believed no man to be more honour- 
able than himself. 

" The good lady, hearing this, prostrated herself 
at the Sultan's feet, saying, in a clear, distinct voice, 
' Sire, you have told me two great truths ; first, that 
honour is a man's richest possession ; again, that you 
believe no man can be more honourable than your- 
self. It only now remains for you to prove the 
reality of your words by renouncing your intentions 
and relinquishing your proposals.' 

" The Sultan was suddenly struck at hearing these 
words uttered by the lady, and immediately under- 
stood how she, by a happy stratagem, had saved him 
from committing a grievous sin and a base and 
dishonourable action. Thanking God, therefore, 
and felicitating the lady for her virtue and prudence, 
he assured her that he loved her more than ever, but 
with the truth and loyalty of a sincere and noble 
affection. He now recalled her husband from his 
distant command, and bestowed such rank, and riches, 
and honours on their house that their descendants 
now occupy the first posts in their country ; and all 
these happy results are due to the virtue of this 
noble woman, who felt in her heart, as she exem- 
plified in her conduct, that honour is a man's first 
and richest jewel, the source and foundation of all 

" And as you, Count Lucanor, have requested me 
to inform you what is the most desirable thing for a 
man to possess in himself; so I tell you it is honour. 
And be convinced that no solid virtue can exist where 

HONOUR. 243 

it is not. It makes men courageous, frank, loyal, 
polished in their manners, kind and charitable in 
their dealings with their fellow-men. It enables 
them to subdue their bad passions, correct irregular 
desires, and curb their disordered wills ; its impulses 
lead men to ever do that which they ought, and 
which is their duty, as it enables them to avoid what 
is wrong and unfit for them to perform. People 
sadly deceive themselves who imagine their ill doings 
are concealed because performed in secret, for every 
evil deed must see the light sooner or later. If we 
feel shame at doing wrong, how much more abashed 
shall we not feel at seeing our misdeeds discovered. 
Even a child, when about to do wrong, will depart 
from it, through fear of shame, without reflecting 
that God, who sees and knows all things, will render 
unto all according to their works. And now, my 
lord, I think I have given you a clear and definite 
answer to all your inquiries, and I have to thank you 
for the untiring attention you have kindly given to 
all these details. But it is certainly more than I 
can say for many of your suite, and especially of those 
who have neither the talent of attention nor the de- 
sire to understand those things which would improve 
them. I would compare them to those beasts laden 
with gold, who feel the weight which they are 
destined to carry, but have no knowledge of its 
value ; so these only feel fatigue at that which they 
hear, without being able to appreciate its worth or 
derive any benefit from it. 


" And now, having replied to this, as to all your 
other demands, to the best of my ability, heedless of 
the disgust my words may have occasioned to some, 
I pray you to make no other requests, in order that 
with this example the book may be finished." 

And Don Juan, holding this to be a good ex- 
ample, caused it to be written in this book, and 
composed these lines, which say as follows : 

"Tis honour chases evil from the heart ; 
By honour man acts rightly without art. 


In translating this chapter I have thought it better to use 
the word "honour," instead of "shame," which is really the 
literal meaning of the original "verguenza;" for, although 
honour is a word coined since Don Manuel's day, yet it is clear 
that it is the qualification he wished to express in his recital 
that noble and generous sentiment which was the soul of chi- 
valry, and was held next to religion by the heroes of the middle 

Saladin, the hero of this historical drama, has been, from his 
own day of the Crusades to the present time, the prototype of 
every valiant and chivalrous deed. His name has reappeared 
from century to century in prose and verse and in all languages, 
ever endowed with some new feature and beauty the hero of 
some marvellous and heroic adventure, deeds belonging certainly 
more to the bright dreams of poetry than to the sober pages of 
recording history. 










DON ILLAN, 79, 81, 83. 










HACINAS, 119. 
















SALADIN, 43, 234. 



TRUHANA, 147. 

VASCUNANA, 34, 36, 39. 




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